Tavistock Lock Up and Police Station

Overview

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Overview

Nation   England

County   Devon

Location   police station, Court Gate, Guildhall Square  Tavistock

Map location   exact or closely approximate

Year opened   1848

Year closed   unknown

Century of Operation   1800-1899

Building Type   Police Station, Town Hall

Remarks   In use as a police station until 2012 (and as a court until 2001). Currently undergoing renovation by Tavistock Heritage Trust. Significant modifications undertaken in the 1890s after the cells were flooded (with prisoners inside), by storm water from the Tavy.

Descriptions

'Tavistock Lock Up House and Police Station. This building is used for the residence of a superintendent and two policemen, and contains four day-cells and two sleeping-cells for prisoners, in a passage on the basement floor. The sleeping rooms are placed in the front, and are well lighted; the day cells are the back and scarcely lighted at all. The former measure 9 feet by 7; the latter 7 feet by 5 feet 6 inches. The passage is divided by a door, so that, when prisoners of both sexes are in confinement, one sleeping cell and two day cells are devoted to either sex, by which a sufficient separation is maintained ... Each of the sleeping rooms has a fixed bedstead, intended for two persons, and good bedding; and when a larger number are in confinement, other bedsteads are brought in, by which four or five are accommodated in each cell. Each of the day cells is provided with a water closet, the supply of water to which is regulated from the outside.'

Inspectors of Prisons of Great Britain III. Southern and Western District, Sixteenth Report (Parl. Papers, 1851, XXVII.669), p.151

'In 1848, the Duke of Bedford erected on the site of part of the abbey ruins, the handsome new Guildhall, which comprises an extensive room, in which the Petty Sessions, County Court, etc, are now held; a magistrates room and other apartments; under which is the Bridewell, comprising six cells, a dwelling for the police superintendent, a fire engine station, etc.'

William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Devonshire (Sheffield, 1850), p. 625

'Purpose-built combined court and police station with former police accommodation block and fire engine house. Circa 1848, incorporating some late-C15 fabric. Late C19 and late C20 alterations. Designed initially by John Foulston and then by Theophilus Jones for the Duke of Bedford. PLAN: Linear plan on the site of historic plots that define the south east side of the monastic Great Court of Tavistock Abbey. From north to south the group comprises the former police accommodation block and fire engine house which is built on a different alignment to the rest of the range and is currently the police station; a three storey building known as Trowte's House incorporating a late-C15 structure within its fabric; and at the south end, the Guildhall which has a courtroom to the ground floor and a semi-basement that was the original police station. EXTERIOR: ... The Guildhall is a single storey building with a semi-basement. The central bay rises to a gable and a single-light window with a cusped head. It has a projecting single storey porch with an embattled parapet. Steps lead up to a round-headed moulded outer doorway with spandrels carved with quatrefoil. The porch has single light windows in its return. To the left of the porch is a three-light window, lighting the magistrates' end of the courtroom and to the right, are two two-light windows. The semi-basement level has granite windows to the former cells, some of which retain their bars, and there is a door into the cell block with vertical plans, glazed above the middle rail. There is a three-light upper floor window in the south gable end of the building and a single-light slit window with an iron grille at ground level. '

Historic England, National Heritage List for England, 'Guildhall, Police Station ... Tavistock', LEN 1309358

Featured Images

  • ExteriorPhoto © N Chadwick (cc-by-sa/2.0)

SOURCES

    Inspectors of Prisons of Great Britain III. Southern and Western District, Sixteenth Report (Parl. Papers, 1851, XXVII.669), p.151
  • William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Devonshire (Sheffield, 1850), p. 625
  • 'Tavistock police station closing to the public', BBC News (Devon), 13 April 2011

  • https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-13057220
  • Historic England, National Heritage List for England, 'Guildhall, Police Station ... Tavistock', LEN 1309358

  • https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1309358

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