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  • Writer's picturemysteriesofmercia

Your Local Lockup

The blindhouse, the lockup, the roundhouse, they went by several names. These were small buildings which acted as a cell where unruly drunks, poachers or others who were arrested in villages were held for the night before being hauled before the courts.

They were often windowless, hence "blindhouse", and would have made for a miserable experience for the miscreant inside.

Village constables struggled to contain crime during the later 1700s and into the 1800s so the being "banged up" in the blindhouse was a threat they could use if nothing else. They were often built next to the village pound where wandering livestock was placed until their owners payed a fine, so the incumbent criminal had some kind of company at least!

The Police Act of 1839 dramatically changed law and order in England with new county forces and stations being established, making the lockups largely redundant.

This example is at Breedon on the Hill in Leicestershire, its the "witch's hat" variety but dozens of other shapes still exist. Do you have an old lockup still standing near you?

I examine this and many other strange places in Leicestershire and beyond in my books, available at

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