Alternative Names South Shields Old Town Hall
Location Old Town Hall, Market Place, South Shields
Map location exact or closely approximate
Year opened 1768
Year closed unknown
Century of Operation 1700-1799, 1800-1899
Building Type Town Hall
Remarks The Lock-Up was included in the design of the Old Town Hall which was built in Market Place in South Shields in the 18th c and was described in reports as the dungeons, although they where actually at ground level. The building is Grade I listed but the listing does not reference the lock-up. Further images are available on the South Tyneside Historic Images website (http://www.southtynesideimages.org.uk/newsite/about.php)
'The lock up house at South Shields is, in my opinion, wholly unfit to be used as a place of confinement. It consists of two small cells about 7 1/2 feet long, 6 feet wide and 7 1/2 feet high. The cells are formed by a wooden partition in the back part of a room which serves as the police station; and the only means of ventilation or light is a small grating above the door of each cell. The cells were so dark that, though it was the middle of the day, I did not see a man who was inside till a candle was brought. The cells are quite insecure also, the ceiling being formed of lath and plaster only. There is no proper means of warming the cells ... The cells were very dirty, and the place which is used as a privy being quite open, there was a bad stench. There is no regular provision for the prisoners washing themselves, and one of them was very dirty. Except in cases of illness, the prisoners have nothing but wooden slabs to lie on. '
Inspectors of Prisons of Great Britain IV. Scotland, Northumberland and Durham, Sixth Report (Parl. Papers, 1841 Session 2, V.413), p.43
'1768. Built by the Dean and Chapter of Durham in the centre of the new Market Place they had laid out circa 1767. Ashlar with pyramidal slate roof. Two storeys. Open arcaded ground floor for use as market hall. Three arches on south, east and west sides on Doric columns, with square rusticated corner piers against which are set half column responds. A central pillar on steps which may be part of a former market cross. The upper floor of 3 bays to each elevation. A central "Venetian" window flanked on either side by a single semi-circular headed window. On the east and west fronts the single windows are blank. On the north front the centre light of the "Venetian" window contains the entrance door with fanlight over. The upper floor is reached by a symmetrical, double branch stone staircase under which the open market hall can be approached through a grand semi-circular arched opening. The roof is crowned by a square timber turret and a domed octagonal cupola. The building was restored in 1977. The hall was originally built by the Dean and Chapter as a place for holding their Manorial Courts and providing offices for their officials. It was sold by them in 1855 to the corporation together with the market tolls.'
Historic England, National Heritage List for England, 'Old Town Hall, Market Place, South Shields', LEN1232158