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Former Administrative Block and Flanking Screen Walls at Hm Young Offenders' Institute Aylesbury

A Grade II Listed Building in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire

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Latitude: 51.8223 / 51°49'20"N

Longitude: -0.8014 / 0°48'4"W

OS Eastings: 482710

OS Northings: 214423

OS Grid: SP827144

Mapcode National: GBR D2R.N79

Mapcode Global: VHDV5.2G6C

Entry Name: Former Administrative Block and Flanking Screen Walls at Hm Young Offenders' Institute Aylesbury

Listing Date: 5 November 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1395814

English Heritage Legacy ID: 506845

Location: Aylesbury, Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire, HP20

County: Buckinghamshire

District: Aylesbury Vale

Civil Parish: Aylesbury

Built-Up Area: Aylesbury

Traditional County: Buckinghamshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire

Church of England Parish: Aylesbury

Church of England Diocese: Oxford

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Listing Text

806/0/10023 BIERTON ROAD
05-NOV-10 Former administrative block and flanki
ng screen walls at HM Young Offenders'
Institute Aylesbury

Administrative block and flanking screen walls and gateways, 1844-7, designed by Charles James Peirce as the administrative block of Joshua Jebb's radial prison. (The attached A,B,C blocks,the former women's block, the replacement of the former debtors' wing and the detached blocks and perimeter wall to the south-west, south and east of the main prison building are excluded from the listing). The gateway to the prison and flanking wings are listed as a separate item (qv 41802).

MATERIALS: red brick fa├žade, painted brick flanks; ashlar and stucco rendered dressings, pitched slate roofs.

PLAN: the prison gatehouse leads to a small and originally enclosed yard which is laid out symmetrically and dominated by the central administrative block (E). Yards to each side of the administrative block are enclosed by screen walls with gateways. The cell blocks are laid out on a cruxiform plan, similar to Jebb's 1845 published plan. Three cell blocks extend from the rear of the central administrative block. Extending from the cell blocks, and forming the sides of the enclosed yard, were two- and three-storey blocks which housed the male debtors (east) and female prisoners (west). The former is demolished, the latter truncated.

The rear of the upper floor of E block was laid out as a chapel which is legible externally but has been subdivided internally and is no longer in use as a chapel.

EXTERIOR: the central administration wing (E-wing) is of four storeys and basement with a symmetrical three bay entrance front. The ground floor breaks forward under a moulded cornice with the entrance set forward slightly between pairs of Doric columns with pronounced rectangular blocks. At first floor level, shallow segmental windows in stepped architraves are set under a deep plat band. Six over six pane second floor sash windows have keyed architraves which drop to the plat band. Small attic floor windows in eared architraves have small fixed panes. Stone steps, now encased in, or replaced by, a ramp, led to the entrance. The front elevation has modillion cornice which continues as a moulded cornice on the side elevations. The tall chapel windows in the rear bays of the side elevations have eared architraves which extend to the plat band. The first floor has blind segmental headed recessed panels. Twelve-paned ground floor windows have brick segmental arched heads. Vents for the plenum (ventilation) system punctuate the walls. To each side of E-wing, a segmental-headed arch in a screen wall with a moulded cornice leads to a sloping, enclosed yard.

INTERIOR: the former chapel has a steel-truss roof which replaced the original after a fire in 1904, and additionally the room now has a suspended ceiling which dissects the windows, which have shallow eared architraves. None of the fittings remain. Former magistrates' rooms, a visiting room and offices on the ground floor have been refitted, but ground floor doors have moulded architraves, and tiled walls surfaces survive.

HISTORY: Aylesbury Prison was built as a County Gaol between 1844 and 1847, designed by Joshua Jebb, Surveyor-General of Prisons, and architect Charles James Peirce. Following the 1839 Prisons Act, Joshua Jebb was appointed as Surveyor General of Prisons in 1844. He masterminded the building programme of radial plan prisons, of which Pentonville (1842) was the first. A committee was set up in 1841 to rebuild Aylesbury County Gaol in accordance with the new Act, but work was delayed until Pentonville was completed. The committee was reluctant to follow the separate system exclusively, but which the Act was designed to permit, wanting to provide dayrooms and associated, ie non-isolated, airing yards.

Aylesbury County Gaol was built to accommodate 285 prisoners, of which 242 were male prisoners, 22 male debtors and 21 female prisoners. It is laid out behind a prominent symmetrical road frontage, of a gatehouse flanked by houses for the prison governor and chaplain (qv 41802, listed Grade II).

Until 1900, local prisons outside London, such as Aylesbury, were built to house men and women. In 1895/6 Aylesbury became the first female convict prison. In 1902-05, and again a first in the country, the State Inebriate Reformatory (SIR) for women was added (F & G blocks) while in 1908 the convict prison became the first female borstal, again based on American models. By 1912 part of the SIR was used for women undergoing preventative detention and circa 1930 the SIR became part of the prison. In 1960 the prison became male only and since 1961 the original prison site has housed long-term young offenders.

The circular airing yards, enclosed associated airing yards, former treadwheel attached to the gable wall of B-wing, and detached wash house to the south of the women's wing, have been demolished.

The former SIR buildings (F and G wings) built in 1902-5 are three-storey blocks, L-shaped in plan, in red brick, with decorative bands in lighter brick. The SIR comprised two accommodation blocks, an entrance building and a range of offices and officers' quarters. Architecturally they are less imposing than the main prison, and whilst specifically designed for the SIR, the function of the buildings is not expressed strongly in the architecture. Additionally, and possibly intentionally, the buildings do not form as imposing a group as the earlier prison.

Brodie, A, Croom J and Davies, J, O, English Prison, An Architectural History, (2002)
HM YOI Aylesbury, NBR no. 93732, RCHM (1996)
Pevsner, N, and Williamson, E, Buildings of England, Buckinghamshire (1994)

The former administrative block (E block) and the flanking screen walls and gateways at HM YOI Aylesbury Gaol, 1844-7, designed by Charles James Peirce as the administrative block of the radial prison, to plans by Joshua Jebb, Surveyor General of Prisons, are designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural: imposing, symmetrical, classical revival design, unusual in prison architecture at the time, which powerfully dominates the inner yard and terminates the progression from the gatehouse into the prison.
* Intactness: Intact exterior, with original detail and fittings, which demonstrate how the building was used; the prison closely resembles Jebb's published plan for Aylesbury.
* Historical: one of a group of radial prisons built following the1839 Prison Act, designed by Joshua Jebb, appointed Surveyor General of Prisons in 1844; first female convict prison (1895/6), later first female borstal (1908); first female SIR added to the east of the original prison (1902-5).
* Group value: The buildings enclosing the inner yard, in particular the administrative block and screen walls, form a strong group with the Grade II listed gatehouse and attached flanking wings.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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