Monday, July 03, 2006


We went to Tate Britain yesterday to see the exhibition of big old Constable canvases and met in the nearby Morpeth Arms.

Googling the pub to get some directions before I set out, I found that, in 1845:
The pub was purpose-built to serve the wardens of notorious Millbank Prison, on the site of which the Tate Gallery (Tate Britain) now stands.
It turns out that Millbank was the goal where prisoners were held before being shipped out to the colonies.

Jeremy Bentham, the utilitarian philosopher was involved in the design. He was the guy who came up with the notorious Panopticon.

The concept of the design is to allow an observer to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) prisoners without the prisoners being able to tell if they are being observed or not, thus conveying a "sentiment of an invisible omniscience"

Bentham predicted:
Morals reformed - health preserved - industry invigorated instruction diffused - public burthens lightened - Economy seated, as it were, upon a rock - the gordian knot of the Poor-Laws are not cut, but untied - all by a simple idea in Architecture!

That's right, exactly as we have been seeing for the last month and a half on our TV screens in the uplifting and improving "Big Brother".


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