On November 25, 2015, The Guardian posted an article by Maev Kennedy, a staff writer with an interest in history and archaeology, previously arts and heritage correspondent. Titled "Holloway prison closure will be mourned by few", the piece appeared in the Prisons and Probation part of the UK Society section.
A modest read of 616 words (I counted), the vast majority of the article focused on notorious inmates past and spent most of its time in the Victorian era. Only 84 words of the article directly referenced present-day Holloway. Here they are:
In the most recent report by the chief inspector of prisons, Nick Hardwick, he wrote that although the rate of self-harm was falling, at 63 incidents a month it was still high, as in many women’s prisons, and that Holloway prisoners were anxious and fearful about their safety. “This was not surprising,” he wrote. “Holloway has a fearsome reputation.”
Although there will undoubtedly be protests if the site is sold for luxury housing, few will mourn the death sentence for Holloway as a prison.
Of course, Holloway does have a rich and often salacious history that piques the imagination - but that has its place. What strikes me as odd, even misleading, is to spend so much time talking about the history of the place without drawing parallels to the modern prison and the problems facing it (and facing society) especially when the article appears in a section of the paper that's concerned with current events and the current state of play. Take a look at the recent stories published there: very few others focus on the past in quite the same way.
Why does Holloway get this special treatment? This is the question that will be addressed by this section of the site, by a variety of people more qualified than I am.