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The House of Correction


The first House of Correction (1609 - 1808) occupied 34 Market Place.The prison was contained beneath the goaler's house and consisted of four cells and a day room, two for the males and two for the females. The cells were 10 feet square and prisoners slept on straw for bedding.Three of the wooden doors had iron gratings for the light and air but the fourth had half inch holes in the door and had black painted walls this was classed as a dungeon. These rooms opened out into the day room which actually had a small barred window which looked out onto a wall.Due to the increase of offenders a new House of Correction had to be built.


The second House of Correction (1808 - 1878) was built on the site of the Folkingham Castle which had been abandoned since the 16th century. It was declared that prisons should be depressing by reason of their function, with civil prisons expressing misery while criminal ones should evoke horror: "let there be deepest shade, cavernous entrances, terrifying

Inscriptions" Building accounts show they estimated £2,862 in 1807 and by 1825 when the building was enlarged it totalled £8,299.5s.3d. With the erection of a treadmill a further £250. The architect charged £457.12s. for his

Services.


In 1849 twenty cells were added and in 1852 a west wing was built this Accommodated 70 prisoners and staff. The treatment of prisoners was organised on "sharp shock" lines, especially in the case of criminals. When sentenced to less than one month, prisoners slept on a bed of wooden planks without a mattress. Those sentenced for longer still slept on a plank bed and were given a mattress after one month. Felons doing hard labour were allowed no visitors for the first three months of their sentence. Only bread and gruel were provided for any person serving under seven days, those serving between seven and twenty-one days had the addition of one pint of soup per week. If serving terms exceeding twenty-one days but less than six weeks the prisoner received three ounces of meat of Tuesdays and Saturdays. Prisoners rose at 6 a.m. and were locked away in their cells at 6 p.m. Sundays they remained in their cells except for Chapel and exercise.


The House of Correction finally closed as a prison in 1878. in 1880 the outer walls were pulled down and the building turned into

cottages and by the 1960s the cottages were declared unfit and demolished and all that remains is the gatehouse which is owned by the Landmark Trust.


Compiled by John Shave