Maidstone Museum and Bentlif Art Gallery

Organisation: Museum

Collections held: Prisons

Dates: 1700-1799, 1850-1899, 1900-1949, 1950-present

Maidstone Museum has two Flintlock pistols used by the Hawkhurst Gang in Kent during the 18th Century.

Maidstone Museum holds a small collection of items connected with Penenden Heath, the execution site, Maidstone Borough Police force and local prisons, in particular HMP Maidstone Prison. The collection is strongest for the Victorian period with a number of Victorian burglary tools, constable’s truncheons, handcuffs, a leg-iron and full body irons. A number of HMP Maidstone Prison registers are held some are on loan.

In addition there is a small selection of 1990s material from HMP Maidstone, plate, mug and items produced by prisoners.

The collection is held in store apart from a small display in the Local History gallery, which shows a cross section of material relating to Crime and Punishment from the 17th Century to the 1990s.

Archive material relating to Maidstone Gaol and Prisons in Kent are held at the Kent History and Archive Centre:

The Museum has no reading room or access to items held in store without prior appointment. Please contact us via our website:

St Faith's St, Maidstone ME14 1LH, UK


Any publications or other relevant material about the collection / history of the organisation?

There isn't much but our collections are briefly described on our website. Crime and Punishment records come under Local History

Who can access the collection?

External (public)

How big is the collection?

Documents: 11-100
Photographs: Less than 10
Objects: 11- 100
Artwork: None
Books/journals/magazines: None

Photo credits

Museum: Matt Chisnall
Banner image: Maidstone Museum & Bentlif Art Gallery