Wirksworth County Lock Up House




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Alternative Names   Wirksworth Police Station

Nation   England

County   Derbyshire

Location   North End (at entrance to village)  Wirksworth

Map location   exact or closely approximate

Year opened   1842

Year closed   1952

Century of Operation   1800-1899, 1900-1999

Building Type   Lock-Up, Police Station

Remarks   Information suggests that the building was built as a magistrate's house in 1842, and then became a police station in 1852. However, when prison inspector Frederick Hill visited on 6 August 1849, he described it as a lock-up house, with cells, and in use as such since 1842. George Victor Townley, the Wigwell Grange murderer, was confined here after his arrest for the murder of Elizabeth Goodwin of Wignell Grange in 1863. When resident in Middleton after the First World War, D.H. Lawrence's German wife Frieda was required to report at the station each week as an alien. The police station closed in 1952. Now converted into a luxury B&B. One of the former cells has been used as a bathroom for guests staying in The Solicitor's Room!


'This lock up house, which was built about six years ago, stands in a good and convenient situation at the entrance to the village. There are four cells with a small airing yard (which, however, is not secure) and rooms for a resident keeper and his wife. The cells are each 10 feet long, 6 1/2 feet wide, and 8 feet high. They are dry, lighted by glazed windows, and are properly warmed and ventilated. They are also secure. In each cell there is a hammock with a proper supply of bedding. The keeper stated that he was allowed a shilling per day for each prisoner's food, and that he gave the prisoners the same kind of food as he had himself. The place was clean, but not very neat. No register has hitherto been kept of the prisoners, but the keeper said that he thought there were generally about fifty in the course of a year. At the time of my visit the place was empty. The keeper had a respectable appearance, and seemed to be well qualified for his duties; his wife takes charge of the female prisoners.'

Inspectors of Prisons of Great Britain II. Northern and Eastern District, Fifteenth Report (Parl. Papers, 1850, XXVIII.291), p.164

'The North End Lock-Up in Wirksworth features in the 1851 census. Resident on the day of the census were: William Smith (aged 47), superintendent of police; Ann Agden, a 14 year-old house servant, and Thomas Agden, a 23 year-old butcher confined in the cells as a prisoner. Ann and Thomas were both born in Wirksworth. It is not clear if they were related. Superintendent Smith, however, came from Dartford in Kent.'

The National Archives (TNA), HO 107/2145, 1851 Census Return for Wirksworth

Featured Images

  • ExteriorPhoto © Christine Johnstone (cc-by-sa/2.0)


    Inspectors of Prisons of Great Britain II. Northern and Eastern District, Fifteenth Report (Parl. Papers, 1850, XXVIII.291), p.164
  • 'The History', The Old Lock-Up Bed & Breakfast

  • http://www.theoldlockup.co.uk
  • 'Wigwell Grange and dastardly murder', Geograph (UK)

  • https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1741229


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