The Clink is believed to be England’s oldest prison, functioning from the 12th century through to 1780.

It housed its share of troublemakers and although ne’er-do-wells no longer occupy the cells, the museum erected on the site gives an evocative illustration of what London’s criminal underbelly must have been like.

Indeed, back when this part of London was teeming with unwashed masses,
the Clink was a permanent warning for what might happen to anyone caught disturbing the peace or, God forbid, failing to observe the state-prescribed religion of the day.

Amid the hustle and bustle of 21st-century London, it’s easy to forget how many times this city has recreated itself and the Clink Museum serves as a reminder that London is really, really old. 

GREAT FOR: History buffs

» 1 Clink Street, SE1 9DG
London Bridge

Words: Tom Sturrock