The Clink: Museum on site of notorious prison fears permanent closure over coronavirus pandemic

Josh Salisbury (05 June, 2020)

The museum says it could be turned into 'yet another coffee shop' unless it gets financial help

37167Image: The plaque outside where the Clink Prison stood. (Image: The Clink Prison Museum)

The museum on the site of The Clink prison, one of England’s most notorious gaols, is threatened with closure over the coronavirus pandemic.

The tourist attraction in London Bridge has suffered a dramatic fall in its finances since lockdown, as all of its income comes from ticket sales, school bookings and its gift shop.

The museum aims to educate about the history of the former medieval prison, which was established in 1144. 

Historians say the expression, “thrown in the clink” comes from the name of the prison, which was burned down in 1780.

Now the independent museum on its site fears it may be forced to shut its doors forever. 

“We have suffered a drastic loss of income in the past few months but we still have fixed costs and bills to pay,” state the family-run business.  

“We anticipate that even when we can reopen it will be a long while before our normal visitor numbers resume and therefore the future viability of keeping this local historical landmark open is in jeopardy.”

It fears that without financial support, the educational resource could be turned “into yet another coffee shop.”

The museum is the latest Southwark cultural attraction to sound a warning note about its future as the pandemic forces visitors to stay at home.

The South Bank Centre, the country’s largest arts venue, has warned that it could be shut until April 2021, and may even go bust without government support.

Meanwhile, The Globe theatre – close to the Clink Museum – has told a parliamentary committee that it too may be forced to close permanently unless it receives government support to help it through the worst of the Covid-19 crisis.

If you would like to see more details about The Clink Prison Museum or donate to a fundraiser to help cover fixed costs, please visit here.

 

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