Penistone's Historic Jail

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The Old Lock-up
According to notes from Penistone and District Society, the old lock-up was built in 1770 but the plaque on the old frontage gives it as 1780. The book noted that an old lady recollected providing straw for bedding and water for sustenance. In 2010, there was a lot of controversy when it became known that developers were going to demolish the old lock-up without ceremony. Town Councillors and Dransfield developers resolved to take it down, mark its fabric and store it, pending a decision on the place and form of its re-erection.

Two positions were proposed to re-site the frontage and the one nearest St Mary's roundabout was selected (mentioned in Penistone Town Ccouncil minutes). A feature representative of the jail was built into the new wall by the roundabout (bottom-right picture). It has the arch and sides of the frontage and is reported as having used the original stonework.

The old Lock-upJail 2010Demolition
The Lock-upLockupNew wall

The first picture above-left shows Penistone's old lock-up as it was in 2007. On the weekend of 26th & 27th March, stones were removed from the front of Penistone's historic jailhouse and it was possible to look inside (Joe Pinguey's picture top-middle). The third picture shows the state of demolition on Weds 7th April 2010. It has been estimated that the recovered Yorkshire stone would have been worth at least £100,000. My thanks to Joe for his photo.

Now You See It, Now You Don't!
My camera was in the right place and time when I took the first two pictures on the bottom row. They were taken with permission from the workman in charge and show two chambers side by side, which correspond to the two holes in Joe's picture. The eerie green glow was a chance reflection from some nearby machinery. The remains of gas pipes in the middle of each ceiling, for lighting, were still visible.

Later on the same Sunday that the photographs were taken, this little part of Penistone's heritage became rubble. Local people complained about what appeared to be a lack of sensitivity to local feeling, with the unceremonious destruction of the Lock-up. On the same weekend, the local vicar made his own protest by putting a 'For Sale' sign outside Penistone Church, suggesting that nothing is sacrosanct any more.

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