Page last updated at 19:47 GMT, Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Listed status for Victorian jail

Wormwood Scrubs
The Scrubs has been the scene of riots, escapes and damning reports

The innovatively designed Wormwood Scrubs prison has been granted Grade II-listed status by English Heritage.

The west London jail, which houses 1,200 inmates, was first built by convicts between 1874 and 1891.

The prison has also experienced its share of controversy, escapes, riots and protests.

The gatehouse carries the emblems of both John Howard and Elizabeth Fry. The pair are both recognised for their work towards prison reform.

Long overdue

The building's "telegraph pole" design and low cost made it a model of its time.

A spokesman for English Heritage said statutory recognition was long overdue: "The prison as a whole is of radical importance in 19th Century prison development.

"The design approach was viewed as progressive in terms of prisoner welfare and prison management, providing workshops, hospital, recreational and spiritual support."

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said: "The Scrubs have been an iconic part of the London landscape for more than a century."

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