In September 2018 my father and I did a road trip to Kingston to participate in the thorough 2.5hr tour of the Kingston Penitentiary Museum. This tour is very well spoken of and we learned why. It is very well ran and very interesting. What helped make the tour so good was the retired staff that worked as tour guides in various areas of the prison. To listen to them talk about first hand experiences when they were employed at the prison added an incredible amount of detail and interest to the tour.
Elements of the tour that stood out for me were:
- The prison is almost 200 years old
- The limestone walls and buildings were built by the prisoners from working local quarries back when the surrounding areas was farm land. The prisoners literally built the walls around themselves
- The building of the prison took several decades
- How incredibly small the cells were when the prison was first built. It wasn’t till much later that the walls between every-other cell were taken out to increase the size of a cell by a little over 2x (to be what it is today). That allowed for a toilet to be installed and a small area to walk by the bed which also allowed the bed to be raised and a desk installed below it.
- That back in the 1800’s it wasn’t uncommon to torture certain prisoners (details were in the museum of the old Wardens home across the street). It was quite clear that you did not want to go to prison back in that time because of the shoe-box size room given to you and the possibility of torture were horrible.
- To learn the ingenuity of those that successfully escaped
- The size of the prison. As you walk around the huge buildings and learn their function, it felt like you were in a detached world that was self sufficient and quite detached from the outside.
All photography was done with the Fuji XT2 and their 10-24mm F4 lens. All B&W photos is the Acros + R film simulation. +1 highlights and +1 shadows. Some images have a bit of Clarity boost in Lightroom. Otherwise they are JPGS out of camera. The colour images are the default Velvia film simulation.