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COUNTY GAOL AND HOUSE OF CORRECTION

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Ipswich County Gaol and House of Correction was constructed on the south-west side of St. Helen's Street between 1786 and 1790. The General Quarter Session of 14th November 1785 decided that the existing county gaol was insufficient and that a new one must be built. According to the Society for the Improvement of Prison Discipline the architect was William Blackburn, but this attribution is at variance with an entry in the Quarter Sessions Minute Book which states that on 22nd November 1785 plans by John and Thomas Fulcher were accepted. The original layout of the building shows a central building in the shape of a truncated or chamfered square, with four attached radiating wings in the shape of a saltaire. The central building contained the keeper's house, magistrate's room, chapel and infirmaries. The wings had three stories and six main bays, and may originally have had open arcades on the ground floor. The prison was extended in 1821 by the addition of two wings and a treadwheel. By 1844 the prison had six treadwheels. By 1832 a further two wings had been added which ran northwest/southeast and northeast/southwest. By 1849 further additions had been made: the south wing had been extended to the perimeter wall and a wing had been added to the west at the outer end of the north wing. In 1877 the four main wings were altered internally to meet the provisions of the 1865 Prison Act. McHardy mentions an intention to merge the county gaol with the borough gaol which was on an adjacent site, and this was probably achieved at or soon after nationalisation. By 1885 a number of internal and external alterations had been made, including the demolition of the south wing and the laundry. In 1883 a new entrance off Grimwade Street had been created to the south-east between the county and borough prisons. A new male prison had been erected at the south of the site between 1879 and 1884. The prison closed in July 1925 and
was demolished in 1931.

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