Great Dunmow has a fabulous little old, disused jail or lock-up.
The plaque on the wall sums up some of its history:
“This small single cell prison ceased its function in 1843 when the Dunmow police station opened. During the 1890’s this disused Lock-up was adapted to be a Soup Kitchen to help feed the poor of the area during those hard years. Lady Warwick is reputed to have provided venison for the kitchen from her neighboring lands.”
The lock-up was used most recently by a local cobbler who died a few years ago and the building was left to Dunmow Town Council who had some plans to turn it into a museum, but with the onset of the recession these plans have clearly been shelved and the building (which is a Grade 1 listed building) is slowly falling into disrepair.
The other week some drunken idiots kicked the door in (rather belying its previous use) and I noticed that the door was open as I walked past it. Well, you can’t miss an opportunity like that so I popped in with my camera and got a series of shots. It really was a delight to find some of the old cobblers tools and the ancient radio and TV that were left in there and it’s such a shame that the Dunmow public have been deprived of this for so long.