Architectural Drawings regarding Norwich Prison
- 1886-1912 (Creation)
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Norwich Castle was built on the instructions of William I and presumably included a prison from the beginning. Francis Blomefield relates that in the 14th year of King Edward III [1340-41] 'the Earls of counties, who had the custody of the royal castles, often refused to suffer the sheriffs to imprison criminals in the castles, though it had been customary so to do; upon which the legislature took it into consideration, and made an Act of Parliament, that gaols which were wont to be in ward of the sheriffs, and annexed to their baliwicks, shall be rejoined to the sheriffs of counties, and that the sheriffs shall have the custody of the same gaols and prisoners there, as heretofore they used to have; and from this very time, this castle hath been the publick gaol of the county of Norfolk….' (Francis Blomefield, An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County Of Norfolk (London, 1806) iii, pp.85-86). It was used to house people awaiting trial at both the Norfolk Quarter Sessions and the Norfolk Assizes.\r\nThe City of Norwich had its own Gaol which was used to house people awaiting trial at both the Norwich Quarter Sessions and the . From 1412 until 1597 the Common Gaol of the City of Norwich was in the cellars of the Guildhall (Francis Blomefield, An Essay towards a Topographical History of the County Of Norfolk (London, 1806) iv, pp. 228, 232). From 1597 to 1826 the Gaol was situated opposite the Guildhall on Guildhall Hill in a building which had formerly been The Lamb Inn. On 7 August 1826 the prisoners were moved to purpose-built premises outside St Giles' Gates in the hamlet of Heigham (Charles Mackie, Norfolk Annals (Norwich, 1901) i, p. 258). The Gaol was closed in May 1878 and the prisoners were moved to the County Gaol at the Castle (Charles Mackie, Norfolk Annals (Norwich, 1901) ii, p. 284). The Roman Catholic Cathedral was subsequently built on the site.\r\nFrom May 1878 until August 1887 the County Gaol at Norwich Castle housed both Norfolk and Norwich City prisoners. On 2 August 1887 all the prisoners were transferred to a new purpose-built prison on Mousehold Heath (off Plumstead Road), Norwich, and the Castle ceased to be used as a prison.\r\n'16 July 1887 The new prison on Plumstead Road, Norwich, designed by the surveyor to the Prison Department, and built by Messrs. W. and T. Denne, of Walmer, Kent, was completed on this date. The prisoners were transferred from the Castle to the new prison on August 2nd.' (Charles Mackie, Norfolk Annals (Norwich, 1901) ii, p. 381).\r\nNorwich Prison accommodated both male and female prisoners until 1 January 1925, when the women were transferred to Holloway Prison in London. In 1925 Ipswich Prison was closed and the male prisoners were transferred to Norwich.
A former Works Governor at HM Prison Norwich rescued the plans from being thrown away.
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Received by the Norfolk Record Office on 17 September 2019 (ACC 2019/116). Catalogued 19 September 2019 (JW).
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Comprises plans showing drainage and well at the prison, as well as details of prison scaffold and cell fittings.
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Created by JW on 18/09/2019.