Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ripon Police & Prison Museum

Ripon has a notably unsentimental selection of museums. There is the Workhouse Museum, the Courthouse Museum and (the one I visited) the Prison & Police Museum.

This is housed in a building that was originally a prison and later served as the city's police station. Displays tell the story of British policing from Saxon times to the present day.

One thing this brings home is how many more local police forces there were before they were merged into the West Yorkshire Constabulary and then the West Yorkshire Police. As a good Liberal, I question what this has achieved.

The second theme of the museum is prison life, including a recreation of a Victorian cell. Other displays illustrate the punitive exercises which were used in prisons, the types of punishments meted out (including a frame over which the delinquent youth of Leeds were once stretched to be birched) and transportation to Australia.

The museum as a whole provides an unexpectedly absorbing insight into social history.

1 comment:

Kimpatsu said...

With a visit from the Doctor, no less.