In 1984 the prison cells at Stonehaven police station were refurbished and at least two punishment wheels, also called a Crank, were discovered. One was renovated by Raymond Penney at Mackie Academy and then returned to the police station where it has been stored in the boiler room for the last 25 years. However, this month Grampian Police kindly donated the wheel to the Tolbooth Museum.

The Crank

The image shows the Crank in situ at Stonehaven police station - it was attached to the wall and it was connected to a dial in the outside corridor. Prisoners were forced to turn the wheel a certain amount of times in order to receive food etc. The degree of difficulty in turning the wheel could be increased by adding coal dust and iron filings (a very dense mixture) to the drum. Life was certainly not easy in Victorian prisons !!

You are welcome to try your hand at the punishment wheel and reflect on the change in society's attitude to those that have the misfortune to go to jail.