Baseball at Kingston Penitentiary, 1950

Baseball at Kingston Penitentiary, 1950
George Lilley fonds V25.5 13-45, and titled “Baseball at Kingston Penitentiary, August 1950.

The Kingston Penitentiary served as a maximum security prison housing some of Canada’s most notorious inmates for 178 years, closing in 2013. With a reputation for brutality in the early decades, the prison faced calls for reform. Much of this reform occurred after the 1930s, and in the 1950s the current warden had introduced sports, writing, and hobbies for inmates to relieve some of the stress caused by overcrowding. Sunday baseball games like the one pictured above were a staple to these new activities, made significant in their own right after providing a distraction that allowed inmates to light the prison buildings on fire on August 15, 1954 triggering a two hour riot resulting in $2 million worth of damages.

Queen's Archives

Queen's Archives regular column on Kingstonist showcases our city's rich history via assets sourced from their vast collection. Their contributions stimulate dialog regarding the places, people and events that have shaped Kingston. Learn more about Queen's Archives...

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