Kate Williams' biography of Emma Hamilton was on my mind yesterday, as I had finished reading it on my tube journey into Waterloo.
As we got plumbed in to Fullers London Porter in the Mad Hatter I smiled to remember part of the book where friends wondered if she was pregnant when she took to drinking porter as it was supposed to be good for expectant mothers. Times change eh?
I also imagine that the Kings Bench Prison to which her debts led to her confinement - along with her and Nelson's daughter Horatia - must have been very near to where we were drinking.
It was an odd sort of imprisonment though, as because she could afford to purchase the 'Liberty of the Rules', she was allowed to roam within three square miles of the prison, and rented a place to live at which she was even visited for dinner by one of George III's sons.
Perhaps "The Rules" might be the answer to our own prison overcrowding. I shall suggest it to Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Lord Chief Justice, next time I bump into him at the newsagent.