Glimpse into life in a 19th Century House of Correction

Walk inside the chilling Cells and capture the feeling of being locked inside or step into the Petty Court Room and imagine the banter between the judge, the accused and the jury. 

A visit to the Old Prison offers you a unique glimpse into life in a 19th-century house of correction. Built-in the 1790s, this was once a fine example of a model prison used to inspire better care and rehabilitation of prisoners throughout Britain and further afield, serving as a blueprint for London’s Pentonville Prison.

Over the years the building has seen many changes of use including a police station, petty sessional court and tramp station. You can still see one of the original cell blocks built in 1844 along with the historic courtroom which was in use right up until the 1970s.

Currently, only a small selection of information boards within the Cells are available to view; The Friends of the Cotswolds are currently working behind the scenes to develop an interactive visitor experience. Until this is available, we hope the experience of stepping inside the Cells and Court Room will allow you at least a small glimpse into what a prisoner's life in this C19th House of Correction may have been like.

Should you wish to delve further into the history, we highly recommend 'The Old prison - the story of the house of correction at Northleach, a paperback publication written by Michael banks, printed in 2013. available to purchase from the old prison kitchen & café.

Source: 'exploring the Northleach prison' - video courtesy of prisonhistory.org

WhatsApp Image 2021-04-21 at 8.55.43 AM.

Exploring the fascinating Lloyd Baker Rural Life Collection

Housed within the outdoor garden area, formerly the Exercise Yard, the unique Lloyd Baker Rural Life Collection offers an eclectic display of historic agricultural and farming wagons and machinery. 

Although the artefacts are not numbered or specifically referenced in terms of their specific use or age, the display serves as a fascinating insight into a period when the land was toiled by man and horse-power.

The collection is of national importance, and is complemented by a range of original implements along with two shepherds huts, taking you back to bygone years. 


Please note, the Cotswold Discovery Centre is no longer located at The Old Prison.