The Kingston upon Thames Debtors’ Prison


The Kingston upon Thames Debtors’ Prison existed from 1829-1852 and was situated in what is today Bath Passage.  It was one of four prisons in Kingston from medieval times to the late nineteenth century. The paper outlines the Debtors’ Prison and the conditions for its prisoners. In 1835, Joseph Walter, the gaoler was required to provide a return on his prisoners and details of their debts. He recorded that between 1830 – 1835, a total of 72 persons were confined and that in a great many cases, they owed more in court costs than they did to their primary creditors. Reports in the London Gazette from 1840-1844, provided details of insolvent debtors held in the prison and identified two persons from New Kingston, i.e., Surbiton.

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The Author

David A. Kennedy, PhD

About 20 years ago, I accompanied my late wife to some talks on the use of computers in historical research and began to help her with her genealogical studies. Later, I took part in a project, organised by the Centre for Local History Studies at Kingston University, to digitise the Enumerators’ Books for the Kingston Census of 1851-1891. This rekindled my interest in history, especially that of Kingston upon Thames, where I live. This website has been set up so that I can share my research findings, some based on digitised material, with others who may be interested in them.

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