Leeds nostalgia: Plan to rebuild Armley Gaol in 1972

Armley Gaol (jail) 8th Feb 1950

Exterior of prison.
Armley Gaol (jail) 8th Feb 1950 Exterior of prison.
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The Government said Armley Prison could be rebuilt on the same site to solve its overcrowding problems. In the House of Commons, Home Office minister Mark Carlisle said Armley had 1,019 inmates, almost double the number for which it was intended.

A Home Office spokesman said they were also looking at the possibility of building a new prison entirely but the snag was finding a suitable site.

The spokesman said if Armley was rebuilt, prisoners would be transferred block by block as the new building went up, which he said is how they were doing it at Holloway.

“Prisons are not the kind of places people like near them,” said the Home Office spokesman. “Like fish n’ chip shops and betting shops, everyone agrees they are necessary but nobody wants them next door.”

Prior to the prinson’s completion in 1847, most

criminals from Leeds were sent to eitherWakefield or York. As Leeds grew, there was a sense it was not pulling its weightin this area and so in 1837, plans

for the prison were drawn up. It was completedadecade later at a cost of £43,000, the central tower being modelled on the design of Windsor Castle.

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