You have no advanced search rows. Add one by clicking the '+ Add Row' button

H. M. Prison, Usk; Maryport Street 47;Usk Prison

Loading Map
Map ReferenceSO30SE
Grid ReferenceSO3788000470
Unitary (Local) AuthorityMonmouthshire
Old CountyMonmouthshire
Type Of SitePRISON
PeriodPost Medieval
H.M. Prison, Usk, was built in 1841/2 by TH Wyatt and enlarged 1868. The internal layout is based on the panopticon plan devised by Bentham and embodied in Pentonville Prison in London, which became the model for prison lay-out for a generation. The new House of Correction' replaced the earlier prison in Bridge Street, subsequently referred to as the Old Bridewell. The prison appears on the 1846 tithe map with a long frontage, a centre cross wing and two radiating rear cell wings and called New Bridewell. A detailed original plan displayed inside the prison shows early features replaced in the later remodelling - eg a circular exercise yard in place of the 1860s central cell block, and a treadwheel to left. When opened it housed 100 males and 20 females.

Built of red sandstone with prominent slate roofs, the complex comprises a high stone wall with a central gateway flanked by polygonal towers and inside the enclosure, seen from the front, a roughly symmetrical composition of 3 storey blocks with projecting wings flanking the entrance and surmounted by an octagonal low tower.

The layout and main fabric remains largely as it was in 1860s. Recent necessary modifications have included new window guards, new cell doors, the conversion of former chapel to gym (this formerly had separate stairs and was fitted with slats to separate prisoners); also some minor additions to and conversions of accommodation.

A printed detailed account of a visit to the prison in 1904 is held by the museum; it refers to 'stone-breaking' being the 'normal industry' of the prison, and describes all the accommodation and facilities including: males' exercise ring, the temporary scaffold, isolation hospital, infirmary, medical officer's room, iron baths and a 'good sheltered disinfector', engine house, kitchen, laundry, offices, heating pipes, with full account of the cell arrangements.

Reference: Cadw listed buildings database.
RCAHMW, 2009.