Walton Gaol 1974

Walton Gaol 1930

If a gaol was to be built on your street, you would probably care little for the architecture – you would just want to move to another place. Prisons stir up deep emotions and it is unlikely that one would be built in the heart of a residential community. Nevertheless, there is no reason why prison buildings should not have architectural merit. Architect Charles Peirce and John Weightman, the Corporation Surveyor, realised the need to reassure the community and their castellated Norman fortress (of 1855) certainly suggests military strength. Unfortunately, in remodelling the prison c1974, the outer fortified gatehouse was demolished to make way for an ugly brick bastion topped by a curved metal string course. A shame, from an architectural perspective but I am sure most people would not consider the reshaping of the prison with much sentiment other than that of relief for the additional security provided by the new wall.
Interestingly, it is apparently against the law to take a photograph of any HM Prison. I was stopped from taking a shot of the new exterior wall by a prison officer, who politely asked me to put my camera away.

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