Liverpool City Police

Main Bridewell, Cheapside

In Liverpool all Police stations with cells were called “Bridewells” and the Main Bridewell was the central lock up that was classified as a prison with its own Governor who was a Police Chief Inspector.

The Main Bridewell was in Cheapside in Liverpool and the building is still standing although it is in the process of being re-developed. It was first opened in 1867 having been built in the Victorian tradition of striking fear into anyone who had the misfortune to have to spend some time there under lock and key. It had approximately 60 cells with each having a heavy wood door and each cell measuring 7ft x 7ft in total accommodation size. The toilet was positioned at the end of the wooden bench where a prisoner would have to sleep and the floors were made of stone.

The reception area of “the main” ( as it was referred to by Police Officers) had a huge heavy door that was attended to by a Constable/ jailer. Once inside the premises, a prisoner would be presented to the Bridewell Sergeant or Inspector and the circumstances of the arrest would be explained by the arresting officer. Prisoners then had to remove articles of value and items such as belts, laces, braces etc for safe keeping and to prevent the prisoners causing harm to themselves. They would then be searched and detained in a cell.

Prisoners that were detained at other Bridewells throughout the greater Liverpool area who would be appearing at the Liverpool Magistrates Court the following morning would be transferred during the early hours of each day to the Main Bridewell for detention before court, as the Magistrates buildings was adjacent to the Court complex and had underground access.

This prison was completely secure. Once you were in that was it. A plaque on the wall in the reception area said:

"Please do not ask for bail because a refusal often offends"

Many famous people including corrupt Police Officers have occupied a cell in this complex.

The main Bridewell closed in 1999 and is a grade II listed building.

Chris Kelly/Brian Starkey - 2012

Click on a picture to enlarge

Main Bridewell Liverpool
Main Bridewell Liverpool
Main Bridewell Liverpool
Cell Corridor Main Bridewell
Main Bridewell Cell

Main Bridewell Staff 1955:

You are viewing the text version of this site.

To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

Need help? check the requirements page.

Get Flash Player