The mob, destroyed and setting fire to the King's Bench prison and House of Correction in St George's Fields: 18th century
© Museum of London
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'The mob, destroyed and setting fire to the King's Bench prison and House of Correction in St George's Fields'. An engraving depicting a scene from the Gordon Riots. On 2nd July, 1780, Lord George Gordon led a crowd of 50,000 to present a petition to the House of Commons for the repeal of the 1778 Roman Catholic Relief Act. This demonstration turned into a riot which lasted for the next five days. The Bank of England, and the King's Bench, Newgate and Fleet prisons were attacked, as well as Catholic chapels and private houses. Order was only restored by calling out the army. It is estimated that over £180,000 worth of property was destroyed during the Gordon Riots. Gordon was tried for high treason, but was acquitted; 25 of the rioters were hanged and twelve imprisoned.
1780 AD - 1781 AD