It was once Glasgow's toughest jail where the city's most violent men and women were sent to be executed.

Duke Street Prison saw the biggest shootout 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 rights of women to vote.

READ MORE: Glasgow crime: The unsolved murders of three women in the 1970s

Glasgow Times:

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

One popular 19th-century ditty summed up the public's view of the jail: "There is a happy land, down in Duke Street Jail. Where all the prisoners stand, tied to a nail. Bread and water for their tea, ham and eggs they never see. There they live in misery."

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

It was enlarged in 1823 to 1824, and completely rebuilt between 1875 and 1892, when a chapel, and homes for the governor and prison officers, were added.

READ MORE: Glasgow Crime Stories: Killers still not caught after murder in 2002

At one point in the 19th century Duke Street was one of eight jails which served the city However by the late 1860s' seven were closed, leaving only the Duke Street Prison and then Barlinnie when it was built in 1882.

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.

Glasgow Times:

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

Henry who lived with his mother in Govanhill had gone out for the night and met Helen White, a twenty-year-old sex worker in Renfield Street in the city centre.

They decided to go to Queen’s Park which was a popular spot for late-night liaisons between members of the opposite sex.

However 35-year-old Henry didn't realise he was the victim of a honey trap involving Rollins and Fraser who had followed the pair from the city centre by tram.

Suspecting nothing, Henry took White into the park where they both lay down on the grass.

Then Rollins and Fraser appeared and ordered Henry to hand over his money.

When he refused he was beaten to death by both men who were later arrested in Belfast.

At their trial at the High Court in Glasgow on May 3 1920 both were found guilty of murder and hanged later that month by the famed executioner John Ellis. On the morning of the execution a large crowd gathered outside Duke Street Prison.

A strong police contingent was on duty from 7am in case of trouble.

The story of how a war hero had been lured to his death had shocked the city.

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..

Janet even helped her wrap the body in a carpet and place it into an old pram.

A lorry driver dropped them in Duke Street - just yards from the prison where Newell would later be hanged.

However, Duke Street resident Helen Elliott spotted the body and alerted the police who promptly arrested Newall who blamed her absent husband John for the boy's murder.

Both husband and wife would stand trial for murder at the High Court in Glasgow on September 18, 1923. However, half way through charges against Mr Newell were dropped after he was able to prove he was at his brother's funeral at the time of the murder.

The daughter's evidence of what happened that day was enough for the jury to return a guilty verdict in just 37 minutes.

Newell was ordered to be hanged at Duke Street Prison on October 10.

Susan Newell went to gallows still blaming her husband and died never admitting her guilt. In a dramatic move she also refused to put the traditional white hood over her head before the execution.

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

The first fusillade of 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 the bemused IRA commander.

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.

In July, 1913, suffragettes Ethel Moorhead and Dorothea Chalmers Smith were arrested during an attempt to set fire to a mansion at Park Gardens in Charing Cross and were taken to Duke Street Prison.

Moorhead used her shoe to smash three cell windows and knocked the prison governor's hat off his head She wrote a letter to the prison managers, claiming that she and other suffragette prisoners were not being treated as political prisoners, and both women went on hunger strike.

Ministers wife Helen Crawfurd Anderson was imprisoned in Duke Street Prison in March 1914 after breaking two windows of the Army Recruiting Office in Gallowgate, as a protest against the arrest two days previously of Emily Pankhurst.

She refused to co-operate in having her photograph and fingerprints and also went on hunger strike, for which she was received an increased sentence.

That same month suffragette Jean Lambie attacked Dr James Devon, Prison Commissioner, as he entered the prison, striking him in the face with a horsewhip .

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.

A cast iron umbrella stand, painted pink, green and white by suffragettes imprisoned at Duke Street, is among the collections at Glasgow Women's Library.

The stand was at one time kept in the office of a prison Governess who was a suffragette sympathiser.

It was donated to the library by a former social worker at the prison who had salvaged it from a skip By 1955 Duke Street had become the main prison for women in Scotland. There were 207 single cells, 12 for men and 195 for women.

Upon closure, between 30 and 40 prisoners were transferred to Gateside Prison, Greenock.

Duke Street's governor, Elspeth Hobkirk, became the new governor there.

The building was demolished including the condemed 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 jails with single cells, televisions, gyms and flushing toilets.

Glasgow 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."