Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Millbank Penitentiary

Millbank Penitentiary, a prison formerly situated on the Thames below Vauxhall Bridge, in the parish of St. Margaret and St. John, Westminster. It was completed in 1821, held over 1,000 prisoners, and was taken down in 1890. The idea of a "Panopticon" or circular prison, with cells on each floor and in the centre a room for the inspector from which he might see into every part of the building, originated with Jeremy Bentham, whose brother, Sir Samuel Bentham, had devised a structure of this kind for the supervision of industry. An Act of Parliament for the purpose was passed in 1794, and land at Millbank was conveyed to Bentham as trustee; eventually the contract with him was cancelled. The erection of the Pan-opticon, though it did not realise Bentham's hopes, marked an advance in prison management and discipline.