One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A prison or reform school for petty offenders.
prison, penal institution, place of detention, lock-up, place of confinement, guardhouse, correctional facility, detention centreView synonyms
- ‘With the advent of bridewells, convicts begin to inhabit separate punitive institutions for the first time.’
- ‘They were hauled off to the barracks, spent the night in the bridewell, and the next day were convicted.’
- ‘In the 17th century, bridewells and reformatory institutions started to appear.’
- ‘The new Board assumed responsibility for 38 local county prisons, 96 bridewells and four convict prisons.’
- ‘In many gaols, and in most bridewells, there is no allowance of bedding or straw for prisoners to sleep on.’
Mid 16th century: named after St Bride's Well in the City of London, near which such a building stood.
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