Scope and Content

The site of Oxford Prison was redeveloped in 1785 after the county justices purchased the site of the old castle gaol. Originally with 2 wings, one for debtors and another for felons, the site was augmented by the addition of a house of correction (for men and women) in 1788 and a chapel in 1798. The dungeon and condemned cell were located in St George's Tower.

Further improvements were made between 1819 and the 1850s with the addition of exercise yards and a house for the governor. A new womens wing was opened in 1851 and a men's wing in 1855. Statistics from the 1850s (Encyclopaedia of Oxford, p.337) state that the prison was able to accomodate 218 male and 24 female felons, and 133 male and 25 female debtors.The women's prison closed in 1922.

Oxford Prison was finally closed in 1996 and for several years was used as a set for films and television programmes, before being redeveloped as a hotel, restaurant and heritage complex in 2006.

This collection was deposited as accession 2357 in 1981 and was originally catalogued as Oxf. Pris. The collection has been augmented by four further accessions, 4135, 4149, 4255 and 5602 between 1996 and 2007. Recatalogued, with additions, by Hannah Jones, July 2008

Access Information