An exhibition at Brampton Museum opens up the dark world of female prisoners at Stafford Prison using photographs taken more than 100 years ago.
The exhibition creator – artist Ruth Singer – has brought the images of female criminals, photographed in Stafford Prison between 1877 and 1915, to Newcastle-under-Lyme – and there are local connections as some of the women were from the borough.
The pictures provide a compelling glimpse into the lives of around 500 women, imprisoned for petty crimes such as drunkenness and theft in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Alongside the creation of textile artworks for the Criminal Quilts series, Ruth has worked with local volunteers to meticulously research the backgrounds of some of the women whose images are preserved in nine surviving photo albums from the prison.The exhibition opens up the hard lives and challenging stories of the women who appear in the albums.
The exhibition runs from 25 May to – 7 July 2019. There will be a talk and exhibition tour on Wednesday 3 July at 2pm.
**Since 2012 Ruth has continued to develop work around the themes and was awarded the Fine Art Quilt Masters prize at Festival of Quilts in 2016 for one of the new pieces.