Construction of Radial Prison


The construction of the prison started in 1896 and was completed in 1906. The original building was a puce-colored brick building. The bricks used to build the building were brought from Burma. The picture shows a wing being constructed. The building had seven wings, at the centre of which a central tower served as the fulcrum and was used by guards to keep watch on the inmates. The wings radiated from the tower in straight lines, much like the spokes of a bicycle wheel. A large bell was kept in the tower to raise the alarm in any eventuality. Each of the seven wings had three stories upon completion. There were no dormitories and a total of 698 cells. Each cell was 4.5 metres x 2.7 metres in size with a ventilator located at a height of three metres. The name, "cellular jail", derived from the solitary cells which prevented any prisoner from communicating with any other. They were all in solitary confinement.


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