Northampton Museum and Art Gallery

Organisation: Museum

Collections held: Police, Prisons

Dates: Before 1700, 1700-1799, 1800-1849, 1850-1899, 1900-1949

Guildhall Road, Northampton NN1 1DP

Contact: museums@​northampton.​gov.​uk

Any publications or other relevant material about the collection / history of the organisation?

Historic Buildings?

The Museum is housed in part of a Georgian gaol complex.
After the Great Fire in 1675 in which the early gaol burnt down, a new gaol, House of Correction and the Sessions House were built on the site of the town’s old gaol. The gaol during this time was of poor condition, as reflected in the prison reformer’s report in 1689. In 1691 the County purchased the house adjoining county hall on the west side and two other pieces of land. In 1791, the Georgian Gaol Block known as the Old County Gaol was built on Guildhall Road by Bruttingham along the lines recommended by the prison reformer John Howard. It had room for 120 prisoners. The old gaol was converted into a turnkey’s lodge with a day-rom for debtors on the ground floor and a grand-Jury room on the first floor. The current museum building is part of a gaol block that was opened in 1846 with capacity for 150 inmates. It comprised two galleried wings with single-occupant cells arranged along the walls at four floors. Legislative changes rendered the gaol redundant and the east wing was converted for use as a library, public reading room and a museum. The west wing became a Salvation Army barracks with mineral water factory in the basement.

Who can access the collection?

Internal only (staff)

How big is the collection?

Documents: None
Photographs: None
Objects: 11- 100
Artwork: None
Books/journals/magazines: None