Ancestry UK

Town Bridewell, Poole, Dorset

A Town Bridewell, or House of Correction, formed part of the old town workhouse on West Street, Poole, which was erected in 1739.

In 1784, John Howard wrote:

Poole Bridewell , is in the work-house yard . Three small rooms now made into two. Keeper is the master of the work-house, which the late keeper farmed; but now , both that and the bridewell rooms are cleaner than at my former visit.

1776, Feb. 26, Prisoners none but a lunatic.
1782, Nov. 3, One prisoner.

By 1812, as James Neild reported, conditions had significantly declined:

Keeper, William Hosier, Master of the Workhouse. Salary, for both, 50l. The Prisoners, 22d Oct. 1803, were Five; one a Vagrant, without a shirt, and four Lunaticks! Allowance, the same as in the Workhouse. This Prison stands in the back-yard of the Workhouse. It has two dark, close, offensive cells, with wooden bedsteads, feather-bed, two blankets, and a rug: also three old cells, and two new ones lately built. The grated window of the Vagrants' cell, and the wicket in the door, were both shut, so as to render it not only quite dark, but destitute of ventilation.

By 1818, the Bridewell had moved to share the premises of the Town Gaol on King Street.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

  • No individual records identified for this establishment — any information welcome.
  • The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Has a wide variety of crime and prison records going back to the 1770s, including calendars of prisoners, prison registers and criminal registers.
  • Find My Past has digitized many of the National Archives' prison records, including prisoner-of-war records, plus a variety of local records including Manchester, York and Plymouth. More information.
  • Prison-related records on Ancestry UK include Prison Commission Records, 1770-1951, and local records from London, Swansea, Gloucesterhire and West Yorkshire. More information.
  • The Genealogist also has a number of National Archives' prison records. More information.


  • Prison Oracle - resources those involved in present-day UK prisons.
  • GOV.UK - UK Government's information on sentencing, probation and support for families.