Macclesfield County Lock Up

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Overview

Alternative Names   Macclesfield County Police Office

Nation   England

County   Cheshire

Location   County Police Station, King Edward Street (now known as The Guildhall)  Macclesfield

Map location   exact or closely approximate

Year opened   1866

Year closed   unknown

Century of Operation   1800-1899

Building Type   Police Station

Remarks   Located at 9 King Edward Street. Built between 1865 and 1866. According to local historian, Dorothy Bentley Smith, this police office replaced a small Cheshire Constabulary office, 'somewhere on the old Parsonage House site adjacent to the Dissenting Chapel', in other words, roughly the same site (but it is not clear if this building had lock-up cells). An 1871 OS map of Macclesfield shows the County Police Office at this location, the description of the building matching the one which still stands. Bentley provides an account of the leasing of land for the police office in 1865, and states that the building was built with stone from local quarries and slates from North Wales. It is not clear when it ceased to be used as a police office. It was later used by Cheshire County Council. It has subsequently been renamed 'The Guildhall', though there is no evidence that it ever was a Guildhall. It has been converted into apartments - which may explain the name change, if the developers thought the name 'Guildhall' was more appealing than 'Old County Police Station'! The cells have been removed but their windows remain.

Descriptions

'These lock-ups were clean; there were several prisoners waiting for examination before the magistrates. The prisoners are provided with sufficient food, firing, and bedding ... The greatest number of prisoners in the lock-ups at one time was 23, during the riots in August 1842'

Inspectors of Prisons of Great Britain II. Northern and Eastern District, Eighth Report (Parl. Papers, 1843, XXV. & XXVI.249), p.110

'At this County Divsional Police-office there are six cells and two day-rooms for prisoners under examination ... Sixpence a-day is allowed for the prisoners maintenance; they have bread and water. The county furnishes coals, but candles if required are paid for by the prisoners. The cells and day-rooms clean.'

Inspectors of Prisons of Great Britain II. Northern and Eastern District, Second Report (Parl. Papers, 1837, XXXII.499), p.35

'The County Police Office ... is situated in King Edward-street. There is a court-room ... and there are six cells and two day rooms for the confinement of prisoners.'

Samuel Bagshaw, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County Palatine of Chester (Sheffield, 1850), p. 216

'This map shows the location of the County Police Office on King Edward Street, Maccesfield. It also, crucially, shows the layout of the interior. The six lock-up cells were located at the rear of the building. Their doors opened into a common corridor or lobby, which led to another lobby, accessible from the main entrance hall. The superintendent's office was located at the front of the building, to the right of the main entrance hall.'

Ordinance Survey Map from 1871, from the Family History Society of Cheshire, Macclesfield Town Maps CD

Featured Images

  • Macclesfield County Police Office, Exterior c.2019© Rosie Rowley, Macclesfield (with kind permission)

Description: Macclesfield County Police Office, Exterior c.2019

Photo by: © Rosie Rowley, Macclesfield (with kind permission)

SOURCES

    Inspectors of Prisons of Great Britain II. Northern and Eastern District, Eighth Report (Parl. Papers, 1843, XXV. & XXVI.249), p.110
  • Inspectors of Prisons of Great Britain II. Northern and Eastern District, Second Report (Parl. Papers, 1837, XXXII.499), p.35
  • Samuel Bagshaw, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County Palatine of Chester (Sheffield, 1850), p. 216
  • Dorothy Bentley Smith, Past Times of Macclesfield, volume 3 (Stroud, Amberley Publishing, 2016), ch. 18

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