"the place had been Newgate Prison"

 Newgate Prison, now no longer in existence, was a central London prison in use from 1188 to 1902. It takes its name from Newgate, one of the gates leading into the city through the Roman London Wall, which is where it was originally built. Several extensions and rebuilds took place throughout its lifetime on the location at the corner of Newgate Street and Old Bailey until it was finally demolished in 1904. The Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court of London, now stands on this site.

London’s gallows stood outside Newgate Prison from 1783 until 1868, when public executions were banned. Large crowds were always drawn to the events and permits were also given out to visit the prison. As London’s main prison conditions were extremely poor, attracting the attention of Elizabeth Fry whose reforming committee managed to achieve some change in the mid-nineteenth century. Newgate Prison features commonly in literature, including several of Dickens’ novels.