The Female Prison

The Female Prison Building in 2007

1963 theatrical reconstruction of Georgian social event outside the Female Prison, shot by May Webb
Yorkshire Film Archive

1780AD - 1780AD

The Female Prison, as it is now known, was built in 1780 to ease some of the overcrowding problems in the Debtors’ Prison.  As the modern name suggests, the building was home to the female prisoners, however it also housed some male prisoners, as well as a new infirmary and chapel.

The new wing was an impressive looking building, the façade mirroring that of the new County Court opposite, which had been built in 1777 to the designs of John Carr, the notable architect.  It was later extended with the addition of two wings by Peter Atkinson Senior.

A hundred years later this building gained notoriety when it became the site for executions by hanging.  The doors of specially constructed 'Drop', as it was known, are visible from the car park at the end of the building.

The car park itself, though stunningly inappropriate for such a historic site, is arguably an improvement on the Victorian Prison building that it replaced.