The History of Leith

March 28, 2012

The town and county gaol (Now Removed)

At the east end of Waterloo Place, and adjoining
Bridewell, is the town and county gaol. It was
-founded in 1815 and finished in 1817, when the
old ” Heart of Midlothian ” was taken down. In ‘
a Saxon style of architecture, it is an extensive
building, and somewhat castellated—in short, the ‘
whole masses of these buildings, with their towers ‘
and turrets overhanging the steep rocks, resemble
a feudal fortress of romance, and present a striking ‘.
and interesting aspect. Along the street line are
apartments for the turnkeys. Behind these, with j
an area intervening, is the gaol, 194 feet long by 40 ‘
wide, four storeys high, with small grated windows.
In the centre is a chapel, with long, ungrated
windows. Along the interior run corridors, opening
into forty-eight cells, each 8 feet by 6, besides
other apartments of larger dimensions.
From the lower flat behind a number of small
.airing yards, separated by high walls, radiate to a
point, where they are all overlooked and commanded
by a lofty octagonal watch-tower, occupied
by the deputy governor. Farther back, and
perched on the sheer verge of the precipice which
•overhangs the railway, is the castellated tower, occupied
by the governor. The whole gaol is classified
into wards, is clean and well managed, and possesses
facilities for the practice of approved prison
discipline, but is seriously damaged in some of its
capacities by being a gaol for both criminals and
debtors, thus lacking the proper accommodation for
each alike.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

Some Text