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Millbank Prison was a prison in Millbank, Westminster, London. During the 19th century, it acted as a holding facility for convicted prisoners before their transportation to Australia.


This article contains information from later episodes of The Magnus Archives and may contain major spoilers for the setting and plot. Continue at your own risk.

Philosopher Jeremy Bentham first proposed his theories and design of the Panopticon prison in 1799. Cells would be arranged in a circle around a single, central guard tower, all cells being observable at once without inmates knowing when they were being watched.

This original plan was abandoned, and in 1815, after Jonah Magnus convinced him,[1] architect Robert Smirke was brought on to complete the prison design. Construction was completed in 1821 but the first prisoners were admitted in 1816. The prison closed in 1890.[2]

Robert Smirke designed the prison as a temple to all the Fears in equilibrium. It was often described as an eccentric maze with twisting corridors, doors at strange angles, and poorly lit, narrow passages. Having been built on marshlands, disease flourished within its walls and the jailers were famous for their brutality.[2]

Magnus covertly modified the design of the Panopticon and at some point during the 19th century, he used it to attempt The Watcher's Crown.[1] The ritual failed, damaging the building and killing all of the inmates in the process. The remaining tunnels of Millbank Prison are now below The Magnus Institute, they form a maze with the Panopticon at its heart.


  • Panopticon derives from the Greek word panoptes, meaning "all-seeing".[3]



  1. 1.0 1.1 MAG 160: The Eye Opens
  2. 2.0 2.1 MAG 41: Too Deep
  3. Alan Briskin (1998). Stirring of Soul in the Workplace. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. p. 77. ISBN 9781605096162.