Anecdotage of Glasgow
Glasgow experiments in prison diet
IN 1840, some experiments were
instituted in the Glasgow prison on the diet of a selected number of the
inmates. The different sets of persons were fed on the following
1. For breakfast, each had eight
ounces of oatmeal made into porridge, with a pint of buttermilk; for
dinner, three pounds of boiled potatoes with salt; for supper, five ounces
of oatmeal porridge, with one half-pint of buttermilk. At the end of two
months they were all in good health, each person had gained four pounds
weight, and they liked the diet, the cost of which, including the cooking,
was two-pence three-farthings per day.
2. Other ten were fed for the same
time solely on boiled potatoes and salt; each had two pounds for
breakfast, three pounds for dinner, and one pound for supper. They gained
three and a half pounds each; and they declared that they, preferred this
fare to the ordinary diet of the prison.
3. Twelve others were fed on the
same allowance of porridge and milk and supper to the first ten, but for
dinner they had soup, containing two pounds of potatoes to each, and a
quarter of a pound of meat. At the end of two months they had lost in
weight one and a quarter pounds each, and they all disliked this diet. The
expense of each, daily, was threopence seven-eights.
4. Twenty others had the same
breakfast and supper with one pound of potatoes for dinner, and half a
pound of meat. They preserved good health but decreased in weight, and
preferred the ordinary diet of the prison. The expense was fourpence
In these cases, perhaps, the
previous habits and tastes of the prisoners had some influence, yet it
appears that the six pounds of potatoes daily was a better diet than the
smaller quantities of soup or animal food.
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