The Victorian Prison Building

The main building next to Cliffords Tower

1835AD - 1934AD

One of the largest and most remarkable buildings in York's history existed for almost exactly a century before being comprehensively demolished.

It was a new prison on the Castle site, built to cope with increasing numbers of felons.  This building was so dominant that it effectively turned York Castle into York Prison.

The scale of it can be judged from plans and photos, and also from the fact that it took ten years to build, between 1825 and 1835.   There was a huge new wall in a dark millstone put up so that the whole Castle Site, including Clifford's Tower, was enclosed and cut off from the city.  The ancient North gate was demolished and a single new gate was built in the North West corner.

From the air, the most remarkable feature was the four prison blocks that radiated like the spokes of a wheel.  At the hub was the new governor's residence.

The building only functioned as intended until 1900, after which it became a military detention centre for about 30 years before finally being closed and demolished by the City Council in 1934 and the site is now, somewhat controversially, York Castle Car Park.