In 1783, the Justices of the North Riding of Yorkshire decided to close the existing house of correction in Thirsk and replace it with a larger custom-built facility in nearby Northallerton. The Diocese of Durham donated an area of marshland east of the town’s High Street. Prolific Yorkshire architect and engineer John Carr was engaged to design the new prison – Carr designed a quadrangle of four buildings, although at first only one was constructed. This initial jail (which cost 3,411 pounds 3 shillings and 11 pence) opened in 1788. The prison’s female wing was built on the quadrangle’s east side in 1818, and the prison Governor’s house and two further wings were added in the 1820s. Treadmills were installed in the 1820s; at one time Northallerton had the largest treadmill in the world. Two new wings, both three-storey, were built in the early 1850s.
To read more about the History of Northallerton Prison visit https://www.hambleton.gov.uk/prison/site/index.php
The prison was closed in 1922 and the premises mothballed. On the outbreak of World War II it was transferred to the British Army for use as a storage depot and later a training facility for Royal Military Police officers.
In 1943 the army began using the site as a “glasshouse”, a military prison.
In 1946 some prisoners, aggrieved that the end of the war had not led to the remission of their sentences, rioted, damaging the cell block and throwing roof slates into the street. In 1964 the prison became a Young Offenders Institution. In 2010 the prison became a community jail for low-risk adult male offenders. On 4 September 2013, the Ministry of Justice announced that it intended to close Northallerton Prison by the end of 2013.
The prison was formally closed in December. The site was acquired by Hambleton District Council in 2015, who recognised its strategic importance to the regeneration of Northallerton and the wider Hambleton District. In 2017 the site was transferred to Central Northallerton Development Company Limited which is a joint venture between Hambleton District Council and Wykeland Properties Limited (www.wykeland.co.uk).