The Lock UpShow/Hide_Details
Towns and villages often had lock-ups or "cages" where offenders could be temporarily held before being moved to the County Gaol to await trial. Very few records of these lock-ups survive.
Silsoe lock up taken from a handcoloured lantern slide c1900. This Lockup was probably used until the early 19th century when the building of new gaols in Bedford began. Prisoners from around the County were brought to the gaol by parish constables, who were paid for transferring the prisoners from the local lock-up or pound. Every parish had its own lock-up or 'cage' where people could be held for short periods of time.
A typical Village lock-up was a small building of round or polygonal plan with a single, or sometimes double cell. They were usually built from bricks (or large stones) and featured a locking door (of wood or metal) and dome or spire. They were often used for the confinement of drunks who were usually released the next day or to hold people being brought before the local magistrate. In the 18th and 19th centuries rural communities struggled to police thefts, burglaries, shootings, drunkenness and during this period they were in regular use.
9th Jun 2007 by Diane Earl
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