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Gate House to Former Camp Hill Prison, Newport

Description: Gate House to Former Camp Hill Prison

Grade: II
Date Listed: 15 April 2015
Building ID: 1423378

OS Grid Reference: SZ4864690504
OS Grid Coordinates: 448627, 90529
Latitude/Longitude: 50.7124, -1.3126

Locality: Newport
County: Isle of Wight
Postcode: PO30 5PB

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Listing Text


Prison gate house of circa 1912.

Reason for Listing

The Gate House at Camp Hill Prison, built circa 1912, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: an impressive classical style entrance to Camp Hill Prison and one of the three most architecturally ambitious buildings within the perimeter walls; * Rarity: Camp Hill was the only Preventive Detention prison to be specially constructed and the form of this building, with verandahs on three sides, more like a large domestic building than an institutional building, represents the type of penal system being enforced, which was unique; * Intactness: the exterior of the building is largely intact with only very minor alterations, and we have made it clear that the altered interior does not possess special interest; * Group value: the Gate House possesses group value with the Administrative Offices and former chapel, also part of the prison complex.


The 1908 Prevention of Crime Act created a new form of imprisonment, Preventive Detention, based both on the USA Penal Reformatory System and 1850s Irish Intermediate Prisons, which aimed both to reform habitual criminals and protect society by removing criminals from it for longer. Criminals who had already served three prison terms, at the time they were being sentenced for a further term of imprisonment, could be given an additional term of Preventive Detention. Building work started on Camp Hill Prison in 1909-10 for Male Preventive Detention Prisoners and it opened in 1912, although it was still being built in 1914-1915. It was the only prison of this type to be built nationally.The buildings were deliberately less institutional than a conventional prison and the regime was less onerous. Prisoners could earn small wages and grow vegetables to eat or sell to the prison. After two years of model behaviour at the Ordinary Grade they could progress to Special Grade, allowed additional visits, newspapers and tobacco. Those within two years of conditional discharge were eligible for the 'parole lines', 16 self-contained tenements within the prison but outside the walls. At the end of their sentence accommodation and jobs were found for them and their behaviour was monitored.Camp Hill held Preventive Detainees until 1935 when it became a Borstal. During World War II it housed convicts but reverted to a Borstal again in 1946. During the late 1960s or 1970s the area of the prison was nearly doubled and additional prison wings and workshops were erected. Prisoners were moved out of Camp Hill in 2013.


Prison gate house of circa 1912. The interior does not possess special interest.MATERIALS: built of concrete blocks reported to have been manufactured by prisoners at nearby Parkhurst Prison.PLAN: curved north-east entrance front leading to unequal-sized single storey blocks behind with verandahs.EXTERIOR: the north-east front has a curved wall set in a corner of the perimeter wall. In the centre is a carriage entrance with wooden double doors, with iron railings at the top with a cornice above, flanked by protruding taller piers with moulded cornices surmounted by ball finials on plinths. A later pedestrian entrance has been added on the left-hand side. The ends have identical piers.The south-west side has a tall projecting central entrance with a moulded cornice and an elliptical carriage arch with iron gates and splayed sides. Both splays have a pedestrian entrance with cast iron grilles with scroll and circle decoration. The internal courtyard has single-storey rooms behind projecting verandahs with four elliptical arches supported on tapering square columns with moulded capitals and plinths.INTERIOR: no original fittings remain. Pursuant to s1 (5) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 ('the Act') it is declared that the modern interior and late C20 prisoners murals, are not of special architectural or historic interest.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.