Newgate nyo͞o´gĭt [key], former prison in the City of London, England, originally in the gatehouse of the principal west gate of London. Dating from the 12th cent. and burned by Wat Tyler's followers in 1381, it was rebuilt in the 15th cent. with funds bequeathed by Sir Richard Whittington. The great fire of 1666 damaged it, and the Gordon rioters partially burned it again in 1780. In the 19th cent. Newgate was a target of Elizabeth Fry's efforts to improve prison conditions. After 1868, executions were held within the prison rather than outside, where they had been attracting huge crowds of sensation-seekers. After 1880 the prison was used only for pre-trial detention, and in 1902 it was torn down.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: British and Irish Political Geography