• Holloway Prison by Hilary Beauchamp - book cover

Holloway Prison

An Inside Story

by Hilary Beauchamp, Foreword by Maggi Hambling


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A compelling, true life account of her time working in this famous north-London prison. Hilary Beauchamp ‘lifts the lid’ on life inside, making the book a must for students of women’s imprisonment or prison education. A unique and telling insight into life in a claustrophobic and sometimes violent atmosphere. An ideal primer on women’s issues within the penal system. With 8 colour pages of original artwork. Launched by Lord Ramsbotham – photos from the launch


‘With many of its pages taken up with the contradictory, unexpected events that Beauchamp witnessed—at once fascinating, bizarre and heart-wrenching—the book is an amalgam of personal interactions bound together by a graphic texture that conveys the look, feel, smell and sound of the prison—a place where every seemingly random noise translates into a meaning’: Current Issues in Criminal Justice (published by the Institute of Criminology, Sydney Law School).

‘A rich and detailed reading in the under-researched and as a consequence still highly under-published, area of female offending and prisonisation’: Punishment and Society.

‘This book should be read by every taxpayer in the country because it shines a light on what is often a dark place’: Inside Time

‘A very interesting and worthwhile contribution to this particular field of study. I found that I couldnt put this book down for its interesting content’: Sam Poyser, Canterbury Christcurch University

‘Describing the work of the Education Department of Britains biggest prison for women is a daunting task in itself. Hilary Beauchamp has excelled and captured the very essence and spirit of this exasperating, contradictory, bi-polar afflicted enterprise. Succesful teaching in prisons has always depended on exceptionally dedicated and gifted teachers and on these criteria Hilary is in a class of her own. Reading her book reveals just how well deserved was her MBE – a George Cross for sheer bravery would also have been appropriate!’: Erlend Lee, former HoD Education, HMP Holloway.

‘A valued social contribution to recent studies in applied criminology and a work which all researchers and students should read and critically appreciate, especially if they have not been involved hitherto in ‘the sharp end’ of things … makes good reading for a wide market: from law students and social workers, to teachers and all involved in socially useful work where Hilary Beauchamp has certainly picked up the vibes of what we do as part of the criminal justice process as lawyers’: Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

‘After reading this book one is reminded of comments by Joan Bakewell. In 2006 she called for the majority of women prisoners to be released from Holloway on the premise that most of them were not violent criminals and needed emotional support or psychological help rather than detention’: Camden New Journal

‘An excellent text… Hilary Beauchamp writes wonderfully, vividly and honestly’: Ben Whittaker, former barrister, MP and Government Minister.

‘I have enormous admiration for Hilary Beauchamp and this book is a fascinating contribution in a field which has not been widely covered… She has a longstanding track record of quality projects… someone of total integrity’: Lord David Puttnam, film director.

‘Artists are lucky – poets, composers or painters – because rather than commit murder they can produce a work of art on the subject instead’: Maggi Hambling, artist (from the Foreword).


Hilary Beauchamp was awarded an MBE in 1992 for her teaching work at Holloway Prison and in September 2008 she won the ITV London Teacher of the Year Award. Some examples of her artwork – both originals and prints – can be purchased at hilarybeauchamp.com.

Additional information

Weight423 g
Dimensions234 × 156 × 16 mm

Foreword author

Maggi Hambling


Waterside Press




Publication date




Place of origin

United Kingdom

Ebook (PDF)


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