Prison & Police Museum

Discover the history of crime and punishment

Have you ever wondered what punishments were like in Victorian times? Discover the history of policing in Yorkshire and beyond. Enter the grim prison with whitewashed cells and barred windows. On the ground floor is a history of policing in Yorkshire from the Anglo-Saxons to the formation of professional policing. Upstairs, crime and punishment is the theme – with many hands-on activities to help imagine the horror of the Victorian prison regime.

National Trust members receive a 25% discount at the three Ripon MuseumsThe Workhouse Museum  The Prison & Police Museum  The Courthouse Museum

Prison & Police Museum

1 St Marygate

Discover the harsh regimes of the Victorian prison system and the history of Yorkshire policing.

The Prison & Police Museum is housed in the former Ripon Liberty Prison, which later became Ripon Police Station. It is a fitting setting to explore the history of Yorkshire policing and the harsh realities of the Victorian prison.

Step through the gate into the prison yard, where you can “lock up” your friends and family in the pillory or experience the whipping post. Enter the museum, where our galleries are housed in the original atmospheric prison cells, with their white-washed walls and barred windows.

Downstairs you’ll discover the history of policing in Yorkshire, from the Anglo-Saxons to the formation of professional policing. Police uniform, insignia and transport are all displayed, with the chance to sit on an original police motorcycle.

Tread the stone stairs, worn by the feet of prisoners, to the first floor (or take the lift), where crime and punishment is the theme. Experience the isolation of our empty cell, turn the crank, and learn about other types of punishment, including transportation or the birching chair. Try your hand at detective work with our photo-fit challenge and learn about the science of fingerprinting.

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