For urban explorers, few places are more coveted than the Catacombs of Paris. Long sealed off to the public, these harrowing subterranean chambers house an 18th century cemetery – essentially an anonymous mass grave. Beyond this, a labyrinth of tunnels extends for 280km beneath Paris in a network of disused stone mines and galleries.
There was a shortage of prison accommodation in the Victorian era, so long-term prisoners were transferred to provincial prisons, or to the dreaded hulks. The hulks were decommissioned warships anchored in the mud off Woolwich. They were dark, damp and verminous and few prisoners managed to escape. This is a cross-section of a hulk called the Defence, published in Henry Mayhew’s The Criminal Prisons of London, in 1862.