Shoots & Roots in Holloway Prison

Women as Founders 

Women have been moved to set about addressing practical issues facing women in prison, while campaigning for systemic changes since the beginning of the prison itself (see post on Duchess of Bedford). The heritage of Holloway Prison as a prison, as a site of resistance is important to the development of a Women’s Building. Resistance comes in many forms, which includes growing pockets of support in the face of immeasurable difficulty.  Keeping going, despite being knocked back, locked out, tested to the last. While at times A Women’s Building might feel like an impossible dream, we already know is that Holloway inspired the birth of these organisations and projects, despite the odds. 

The majority of the organisations listed join in the call for a Women’s Building on the site, and having worked together in Holloway for decades. It is easy to see how a Women’s Building could provide a good home for further cross pollination of future ideas, collaborations no longer constrained by prison walls. Some organisations were born of radical, anti prison roots while others are more easily understood as emerging from within the system, and reformist in their approach, all believed in the importance of specialist provision for women.

Spanning from 1965 right up to 2016, the following posts will focus on some of the women who inspired by what they witnessed in the prison, started their own projects or organisations to address issues ranging from education, to maternal healthcare.  Featuring The Griffins, Women in Prison, Hibiscus Initiatives, Women at Wish, Birth Companions, The Visitor Centre, Born Inside, Working Chance, Treasures Foundation, HUT. Projects that now live on, having supported thousands of women, where once they were but an impossible dream.

While we focus on the women and the projects, it must be said that while on the one hand the difficult circumstances of the prison inspired these projects, on the other hand the prisons cooperation and willingness to work with community projects sustained them.

This is not an exhaustive list  of those inspired by the prison to establish something, please submit to if you think we should be including women, projects or organisations you know of.

Any Women’s Building that will emerge from the legacy of Holloway Prison, will be built on the shoulders of the following women, and will be sustained on the shoulders of women to come.