Alternative Names Ayton Prison
Location on the main street (high street?) Ayton
Map location in the vicinity
Year opened c.1810
Year closed unknown
Century of Operation 1800-1899
Building Type Lock-Up
'The prison at Ayton is, properly, a mere lock-up house, for the reception of offenders on their road to a regular gaol; it not having been legalized as a place of confinement for prisoners undergoing punishment, or indeed legalized in any way. The place appears, however, to be sometimes used as a regular prison for very short periods of imprisonment. It was built about 20 years ago, and stands in the main street of the village. It is neither well constructed nor well situated. The walls are made of rubble-stone, and in some places are not more than a foot thick; and it would not, therefore, be difficult to make a hole through them; while the ready communication with the street offers facilities for obtaining tools for the purpose. Two prisoners have escaped during the last 12 months ... There are 2 rooms, and they are each about 15 feet long, 8 feet broad, and 8 feet high. Each has an unglazed window ... There is a chimney in each room, but no grate; and the gaoler said that whenever an attempt had been made to light a fire the room had filled with smoke. This circumstance, however, does not appear to have prevented the prisoners from setting fire occasionally to the straw which lies in a slovenly manner scattered over the floor. In winter the rooms must be very cold; they are, however, dry.'
Inspectors of Prisons of Great Britain IV. Scotland, Northumberland and Durham, Third Report (Parl. Papers, 1837-38, XXXI.299), p. 20
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