In the 19th Century most villages had lock-ups which enabled local criminals to be detained for short periods prior to them being taken away to the nearby court to be dealt with. Village lock-ups were routinely used until around 1839, after which each county was allowed to create local paid police forces bringing with them police stations and holding cells. This creation of local police forces led to the decline and neglect of these unique structures. A number of village lock-ups still survive however and can often be found hidden in plain sight.
Here are two more less impressive examples of lock-ups, the first is in Lyme Regis in Dorset and can be found in what is today the Guild Hall. The second is in Devizes in Wiltshire and is hidden at the rear of the Town Hall.
Lyme Regis, Dorset
|Lyme Regis Guild Hall, the site of the old lock-up.|
|The entrance to the old lock-up.|
|The old lock-up, hidden at the rear of the town hall.|
So keep an eye out for local lock-ups hidden in plain sight! And I will post more as I find them.
Pictures: Oxfordshire (April 2015), Dorset (September 2013) and Wiltshire (August 2014).
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