H-Block 6 Plan and elevations in the archive of Steve Jensen Design.
Ablutions Dining Room Classroom Entrance Control Room Circle Cell H-Block Yard Exercise Yard


Area for washing, showering and disposal of overnight waste.

Dining Room

“There must have been over a hundred men, all with long, dirty, greasy hair, long beards – some longer than others – totally unkempt. All naked to the waist, just wearing the prison, the trousers from the prison uniform. And the noise was just absolutely incredible” - Prisoner

Also known as the ‘canteen’. Also used as a recreation room and for religious services on a Sunday.

Canteen facilities in an H - Block, 1981.

Canteen facilities in an H – Block, 1981. ©PRONI ref: INF/7/A/8/12


An empty H-Block classroom, 1981.
H-Block classroom, 1981
Being taught in a H-Block classroom, 1981.


Control Room

Former Prison Officer Dessie Waterworth describes the control room inside a H-Block at the Maze and Long Kesh. Recorded in 2004.


“One of the bizarre things to me always was that this rectangular space was called ‘circle’” - Educator

The central point of the H-Block, it was actually an oblong space. The terminology of the ‘circle’ comes from Victorian prison design. The ‘circle’ was an administration area, containing the control room of each H-Block.


“People often say ‘jeez, how did you stay for five years in a cell this size?’ and I used to say ‘well, the biggest thing was that I didn’t spend that much time in this cell.’ I would get up sometimes and in my head I would go for a walk on the Black Mountain” - Prisoner

Dependent on the prison’s population, each cell accommodated either one or two prisoners.

Fumigation of a cell during the dirty protest, 1981.
Cell accommodation, 1981.

H-Block Yard

Located in front of the main entrance to an H-Block, it was accessible to vehicles.

External view of an H-Block, 1981.

Exercise Yard

“This is where you got out and you had your wee talk where no one else could hear” - Prisoner

Used for exercise and outdoor recreation by the prisoners. Originally, each wing had its own yard, with an ‘air lock’ between adjacent yards. In later years, adjacent yards were combined.