Town Bridge & Lock Up

Bradford on Avon’s prison history is more interesting than you might first think.

As noted by a lock up on a bridge, hanging over the river and in a former chapel is not exactly usual!

Both the bridge and the chapel date back to the 13th Century, and it operated as a lock-up between the 18th and 19th centuries.

The bridge was widened in 1769 to accommodate more traffic!

One of our local historians, Ivor Slocombe, notes that the chapel was rebuilt in the early 18th century as a single all-purpose room. This was until the 19th century when it was altered again to include two secure cells with iron doors and beds.

According to recent research suggests that the date of the cells is usually given as 1820/40s with the beds and toilets being installed in 1880.

The lock-up was fully restored in 1927 before the Lord of the Manor passed ownership on to Wiltshire County Council – and now Bradford on Avon Town Council.