Tucked between Chelsea and Whitehall, and the river, Pimlico is a prosperous, but lower and middle-class, neighbourhood. Most of the people here are poorer professionals and skilled labourers. Two bridges, the Vauxhall and the Lambeth, connect it to the south bank of the Thames. Breweries, especially the massive Artillery Brewery and the Thorne Brewery, construction companies like Cubitt’s Works, and other workshops are the main form of employment here. Public bathhouses for the workers are on Old Pye Street nearby. Along with the Chartered Gas Works and its rival the Equitable, this area smells constantly of chemicals and sulphur.
The sulphurous reek provides an appropriately hellish backdrop for the largest building in Pimlico. Just off of the Vauxhall Bridge and dominating the riverbank of the district is Millbank Penitentiary, the oldest prison in the city. Constructed in 1821, it became the model for how a facility of its type should be built. Six blocks, shaped in a vaguely triangular shape when viewed from above, are arranged in rosette around a central courtyard where the prisoners are exercised once a day. Each of the blocks is ve stories high, and the place is depressing, even from the outside.
A smaller version of Millbank is nearby on Victoria Street. The Westminster House of Corrections is a gray Georgian dump that has been used for a debtors’ prison in the past. It has three wings, and is now dedicated to straightening out the unemployed and criminal.