Fonds HMP - Her Majesty's Prison/Young Offenders' Institution Norwich

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Her Majesty's Prison/Young Offenders' Institution Norwich


  • 1879-1992 (Creation)

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37 series

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Administrative history

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.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The records were deposited by Mr Michael Spurr, the Governor, HMP/YOI Norwich, Knox Road, Norwich NR1 4LU on 29 September 1999 (ACC 1999/118) and 16 November 1999 (ACC 1999/153).
Catalogue for HMP 1 completed on 10 October 2007 (FMWJ), for HMP 2-3 completed on 11 October 2007 (FMWJ), for HMP 4-8 completed on 15 October 2007 (FMWJ), for HMP 9-16 completed on 26 October 2009 (FMWJ), for HMP 17-20 completed on 28 October 2009 (FMWJ), for HMP 21-25 completed on 30 October 2009 (FMWJ), and for HMP 26-37 completed on 23 November 2009.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Records of Norwich Prison (from its opening in 1887) and of its predecessor, Norfolk County Gaol at Norwich Castle (from 1879).

List of Contents

HMP 1 Nominal Registers of Prisoners, 1879-1964
HMP 2 Indexes to Nominal Registers of Prisoners, 1879-1964
HMP 3 Record of Conviction Registers, 1906-1935
HMP 4 Registers of Aliens and Commonwealth Citizens, 1921-1972
HMP 5 Photographs of Prisoners, 1907-1935
HMP 6 Calendars of Prisoners, 1927-1964
HMP 7 Governor's Journals, 1901-1988
HMP 8 Britannia Annexe Governor's Journals, 1970-1984
HMP 9 Visiting Committee Minute Books, 1913-1971
HMP 10 Visiting Committee Minutes and Observation Books, 1963-1972
HMP 11 Chairman of Visiting Committee's Papers, 1863-1910
HMP 12 Prison Inspector's and Director's Minute Books, 1881-1991
HMP 13 Governor's Annual Reports, 1932-1958
HMP 14 Visitors' Books, 1898-1989
HMP 15 Visitors' Comments Book, 1922-1938
HMP 16 Registers of Officers, 1882-1972
HMP 17 Officers' Pay Books, 1915-1926
HMP 18 Registers of Temporary Officers, 1924-1958
HMP 19 Record of Corporal Punishments, 1927-1945
HMP 20 Record of Prisoners' Petitions, 1894-1960
HMP 21 Registers of Prisoners' Applications, 1955-1976
HMP 22 Statistics Registers relating to Remand and Trial Prisoners, 1936-1965
HMP 23 Special Search Registers, 1972-1991
HMP 24 Governor's Orders Books, 1965-1977
HMP 25 Governor's Papers, 1889-1992
HMP 26 Medical Officer's Papers, 1940-1960
HMP 27 Steward's Papers, 1960-1965
HMP 28 Pattern Books, 1911-1965
HMP 29 Tools Ledgers, c 1960
HMP 30 Canteen Records, 1970-1972
HMP 31 Staff Housing Records, 1970-1986
HMP 32 Prison Photographs, 1983-c 1987
HMP 33 Copies of Prison Commission/Service Circulars and Memoranda, 1885-1960
HMP 34 Copies of Prison Service Monthly Circulars, 1940-1966
HMP 35 Copies of Prison Service Staff Circulars and Notices, 1954-1967
HMP 36 Indexes to Prison Service Circulars and memoranda, 1943-1958
HMP 37 Books of Reference, 1884-c 1964

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Records relating to Ipswich Prison were transferred to the Ipswich Branch of the Suffolk Record Office on 10 June 2009.


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Some records are subject to long closure periods.

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The hangings book remains at the Prison. For 6 plans showing drainage and prison well, as well as details of prison scaffold and cell fittings, see MC 3507.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 09/10/2007 by Drofw. Modified 23/09/2019 by Drojr.


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