The prison was designed for maximum security, both to prevent prisoners escaping and to deter any attempts at a general uprising amongst the prison population.
The blockhouse, liberal number of sentry boxes and high fences surrounding the barracks all served to keep the prisoners secured and deterred from any organised insurrection. Outside the prison wall at each gate was a guard house, while the arrangement of military barracks ensured that troops could be quickly rushed to any trouble spot.
The depot at Norman Cross cost £34,581 11s 3d, which was expensive compared to other establishments at the time. The prison served until 1814. The following year it was sold by auction, the barracks being dismantled and used for building materials. Some of the garrison buildings remained and were strengthened with brick and altered to form larger country houses, in which condition some of them remain today. All that remains of the rest of the depot is part of the brick perimeter wall and some of the wells.
The prison had accommodation available for up to 7,000 inmates, with barracks for the 500 soldiers who guarded them. From 1797 until 1814 the depot saw many different nationalities incarcerated there.
A Detailed History >