At one time Glasgow had eight separate prisons with different areas of the city having its own jail.

However new legislation passed by Westminster in the middle of the 19th century lead to a more centralised system both in the city and across the country.

By the time of Barlinnie's completion seven were closed, leaving only Duke Street.

At the time it was the toughest of the eight where the city's most violent men and women were sent to spend the rest of their days and in some cases hang.

Duke Street saw one of the biggest shoot outs ever seen in Scotland, where an IRA ambush claimed the life of a police officer.

It also housed some of the leading lights of the Suffragette movement who were prepared to break the law in their campaign for the right of women to vote.

Situated a short distance from the High Street the conditions behind the forbidding stone walls were seen as grim even by Victorian standards.

Read more: Barlinnie's prison escapes: 'You're always looking for a way out'

The prison itself was first opened in 1798 to house Glasgow's growing population of offenders.

It was enlarged in 1823, and completely rebuilt between 1875 and 1892, when a chapel, and homes for the governor and prison officers, were added. 

Duke Street is probably most notorious for the number of executions that took place there.

A total of 12 hangings were carried out on it's scaffolding between 1902 and 1928.

Albert Fraser, 24, and James Rollins, 22, were both hanged at the same time for the murder of WW1 hero Henry Senior in Queens Park in Glasgow in 1921. The last double hanging in Scotland.

The Herald: A Barlinnie work party during the 1950s (The Herald)A Barlinnie work party during the 1950s (The Herald) (Image: The Herald)

Three years later Susan Newell, 30, became the last woman to be executed in Scotland.

She had strangled a 13 year old newspaper boy John Johnston in her home in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire.

Newell then used her own eight year old daughter Janet to help dispose of the body in a Glasgow tenement close.

However the murder of 42 year old Detective Inspector Robert Johnston outside the jail in a wild west style shootout was it's most terrifying moment.

IRA commander Frank Carty - considered one of the most dangerous men in Britain - been arrested in Glasgow after going on the run from a Northern Ireland jail.

At noon on Wednesday May 4, 1921, a police van ferried the prisoner to Duke Street from the nearby Central Police Court in St Andrew's Square.

Three armed police officers were on board including Johnston in case of any attempt to free him.

Their worst fears were realised when a team of 12 IRA gunmen ambushed the van just a few yards from the prison gates.

Read more: The Barlinnie story: From beacon of reform to notorious superjail

Their shots shattered the van windscreen, hitting Inspector Johnston. The detective fell out of the van where he collapsed on the ground.

Two other officers exchanged fire with the IRA men but they were outnumbered.

Meanwhile, the gunmen attempted to open the locked doors to the van carrying 24 year old Carty.

One fired a shot into the lock, but it only jammed the mechanism. 

He fired repeatedly through the doors, narrowly missing Carty. At this point the IRA men fled their mission having failed.

Inspector Johnston was put in a police car and rushed to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, but he couldn't be saved.

The van was driven the remaining distance to Duke Street where prison staff used cutting equipment to open the vehicle's doors and release Carty.

In the early part of the 20th century daily protests were held outside the jail not only in support of the suffragettes held inside but also the appalling conditions. 

There were also demonstrations against the force feeding of those who went on hunger strike.

Wendy Wood, an early campaigner for Scottish independence, was imprisoned at Duke Street for 60 days for refusing to pay National Insurance. 

She was appalled by the conditions that the prisoners both men and women were kept in.

Following her incarceration there, Wood became an active campaigner for prison reform and she lobbied authorities until the closure of the prison in August, 1955.

By 1955 Duke Street had become the main prison for women in Scotland.

The building was demolished including the condemned cell in 1958 to eventually make way for the Ladywell housing estate which stands till this day.

The only remaining structure of Duke Street Prison is some of the boundary wall.

The jail was far cry from todays modern campus style establishments with single cells, televisions, gyms and flushing toilets.

Author Douglas Skelton recently summed up conditions in Duke Street during its' 157 year old history.

He said: "Life was cramped and dirty and often brutal.   

"People were sent there to be punished, they were sent here to  await trial, but some were sent there to die."