British photographic history

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L'Exposition Penintentiaire at the Exposition Universelle of 1889 in Paris (?)

I recently acquired an amazing group of circa 40 glass stereoviews depicting prison life in the penitentiary of Clermont [Clermont-Ferrand, I believe) in the Auvergne in France. In addition to life in prison, they depict exhibits at the Exposition  Penitentiaire. Although I can not find any reference to where and when this exposition was organised, I assume it formed part of the Exposition Universelle of Paris in 1889. However, in my opinion, the most interesting images are those dedicated to prison life. Although clearly staged, they provide a fascinating glimpse into a Dickensian world. Among others there are scenes of the prison courtroom, washerwomen, young boys fencing, the kitchens, and many, many others. I suspect the images were made on order of a ministry or other government body to show how modern,humane and efficient the new prison (or workhouse) functioned. Anyway, I am fascinated by these views and am trying to find out more about them. Perhaps there is anyone out there who can tell me more ?! 

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