Ancestry UK

Town Gaol and Bridewell, Hythe, Kent

By 1804, a Town Gaol existence by 1812 and Bridewell, or House of Correction, was in operation on Stade Street, Hythe.

In 1812, James Neild described the establishment:

Keeper, Thomas Sampson; now James Higham. Salary, twenty shillings, and half a chaldron of coals.

Prisoners, 1 804, Sept. 23d, 2. 1806, Aug. 12th, 0. 1809, July 10th, 1 Woman Felon.

Allowance, threepence a day each, in bread.

To this Gaol there is a small court-yard, of 16 feet by 14 feet 4; and two rooms, about 9 feet 6 by 7 feet 5, and 7 feet 6 inches high. One of them has a fire-place; the other straw only on the floor, and two blankets ; with iron-grated windows, about two feet two inches square. No pump. The Keeper fetches the water that is wanted from the town. A tub serves as a sewer, though one might be built in the court-yard. At my visit, in August 1808, I found that the former Keeper was dismissed, on account of a Prisoner's having made his escape.

In 1837, the Inspectors of Prisons reported:

This Prison has three rooms:—No. 1.—15 feet by 10 feet and 13 feet in height, having a window about 3 feet 2 inches square. This is generally used as a day-room for men. No. 2.—9 feet 6 inches by 12 feet 3 inches, and 7 feet 9 inches in height; the Window is 2 feet 2 inches square. No. 3.—9 feet 3 inches by 7 feet 5 inches; the height is 7 feet 6½ inches; the Window is 2 feet 3 inches square.

We found one Female, convicted of shop-lifting, who had been five months in the Prison. The total number of Commitments in 1835 was 12, and in 1836, six. The greatest number at one time in confinement was one man and one woman. No prisoners are sent to the County Gaol.

The Magistrates are about to make an arrangement with the Borough of Dover, for the maintenance of their Prisoners—a very desirable measure. Should this be concluded, the present gaol should only be used as a lock-up house for the separate confinement of persons persons under examination.

As suggested by the Inspectors, the prison became a lock-up, eventually being closed in about 1850.


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  • Prison Oracle - resources those involved in present-day UK prisons.
  • GOV.UK - UK Government's information on sentencing, probation and support for families.