19th Century Prison History : 19th Century Prison Search

Macclesfied Borough Lock Up

Overview

Location   at the rear of the Town Hall, facing on to Churchside,  Macclesfield

County   Cheshire

Year Opened   1825 [1853]

Year Closed   [1874]

Century of Operation   1800-1899

Remarks   A new town hall was built in 1825, replacing an old Guildhall on the same site. The new town hall had lock-up cells (it is possible that the old Guildhall also had lock-up cells). In 1843, an office for the police superintendent was provided within the town hall - at first. in the 'lower room' or cellar, but this being 'unhealthy', the office was relocated upstairs. As local historian Dorothy Bentley Smith, explains, in 1853 the 'Guild Hall' public house, adjacent to the town hall on Churchside, was purchased (for £600) and converted into a borough police station. The location of the Borough Police Office is shown on an 1871 OS Map of Macclesfield: at the rear of the town hall, its entrance on Churchside. This map also suggests that the superintendent's office remained in the town hall. A new police station was constructed in 1874 ('on its present site' - i.e. Brunswick Street?), and presumably replaced the facilities at the Town Hall. Macclesfield Town Hall, and the 1853 police station, are Grade II listed. However, the listing claims that the Borough Police Station was part of the 1870 extensions.

Borough Police Station, Exterior, located at the rear of the town hall, facing on to Cheapside. c.2019© Rosie Rowley, Macclesfield (with kind permission)

Further information can be found at
https://www.prisonhistory.org/lockup/macclesfied-borough-lock-up/

Descriptions

  • 'The lock-ups for the borough of Maccesfield are placed at the back of the Town Hall. They consist of 14 sleeping cells and two day rooms. Sixpence a day is allowed by the Corporation for the maintenance of such prisoners as do not provide themselves while lying here under charge or remand. Tobacco and beer are allowed to be purchased. The usual bedding is provided. At the period of inspection the cells were only partially supplied with beds, and were under the process of lime-washing. There are no privies attached to the building.'
    Inspectors of Prisons of Great Britain II. Northern and Eastern District, Second Report (Parl. Papers, 1837, XXXII.499), p.35

  • 'These lock-ups were clean and orderly at the time of my visit. There were nine prisoners in custody on various charges, waiting for the examination of the magistrates. The wants of the prisoners with regard to food, firing, and bedding, appear to be properly attended to ... The greatest number of prisoners in the lock-ups at any one time since the 6th December, 1842, was 19.'
    Inspectors of Prisons of Great Britain II. Northern and Eastern District, Eighth Report (Parl. Papers, 1843, XXV. & XXVI.249), p.110

  • 'The lock up for the borough is at the back of the Guild Hall, and consists of two day rooms, and a number of cells.'
    Samuel Bagshaw, History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County Palatine of Chester (Sheffield, 1850), p. 216

  • 'This map shows the location of the Borough Police Office, at the rear of the town hall on Market Place. While the superintendent's office was still located within the town hall, the borough police office was attached to the rear, its entrance facing Cheapside, and to the right of the Butter Market.'
    Ordinance Survey Map from 1871, from the Family History Society of Cheshire, Macclesfield Town Maps CD

  • 'Town hall, incorporating former police station. Town Hall 1823-4. By Francis Goodwin, with extensions of 1870 by James Stevens of Macclesfield. Ashlar. Greek Revival style. ... Former Borough Police Station adjoins to rear, part of the 1870 extensions. Similar style, with paired 2-pane sash windows with moulded architraves set in panelled recesses each side of central doorway. Scrolled frieze and cornice, then panelled parapet. Lettering over ground floor.'
    Historic England, National Heritage List for England, 'Town Hall, Cheshire East', LEN 1206935

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
  • Inspectors of Prisons of Great Britain II. Northern and Eastern District, Sixteenth Report (Parl. Papers, 1851, XXVII.461), p.41
  • Royal Commission of Inquiry into Municipal Corporations of England and Wales, First Report, Appendix (Parl. Papers, 1835, XXIV.1), p.130
  • 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
  • The Museum of Policing in Cheshire, 'A Short History of the Macclesfield Borough Police Force' (2005)
    http://www.museumofpolicingincheshire.org.uk/Features/Texts/MacclesfieldHistory.pdf
  • Historic England, National Heritage List for England, 'Town Hall, Cheshire East', LEN 1206935
    https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1206935