Dartmoor: Penal and Cultural Icon

Alana Barton, Alyson Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review


Dartmoor is one of the oldest British prisons still in use. Opened in 1809, it quickly gained a brutal reputation that its later history has done little to dispel. The image of Dartmoor has loomed large in England’s penal and cultural past and endures because of its combination of particular architecture, topography and inmate population as well as its unique capacity to invoke, within the public consciousness, an idealised and even mythical representation of all prisons. This article examines how a combination of physical and expressive factors has established and perpetuated the brutal, yet ‘darkly glamorous’, image of Dartmoor prison and its prisoners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-491
JournalThe Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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