Old Victorian Gaol

The history of the Old Victorian Gaol in West Bromwich is largely still to be told. The official records remain securely stored away, even after 100s of years. The building started life as a 17th century prison. The evidence for what must have gone on here can still be seen in the maze of prison cells, dark stairwells, and wooden courtrooms that remain largely unaltered since that time. This location houses more than 17000 sq ft of corridors, cells, and courtrooms, all of which have a sense of unease and foreboding hanging over them, and which some visitors have found to be almost overwhelming.

In 1890 the prison was redesigned to better align it to Victorian thinking in the realm of justice, and a larger courtroom was established at this time. Even then punishments here were known to be harsh, and in some cases brutal.

In more modern times some of the most dangerous prisoners in the UK have been housed in this building. 20Th century innovations including bullet-proof glass, heavy metal doors, and barred gates, indicate that until very recently this was still a functioning prison.

West Bromwich Petty Sessions, later the Magistrates Court was housed here. It covered just West Bromwich until 1966 when it was extended to include the former courts of Tipton and Wednesbury. All criminal cases would come before a magistrate, although if a case was more serious it would then be referred to a higher court, before 1908 cases involving children were also heard here, with many receiving prison sentences.

A lot of paranormal activity has been recorded here over the years, with many of those who have worked in the building speaking of an overwhelming sense of panic, and an intense desire to escape. The emotions of former prisoners appear to be retained in the atmosphere of the building, as they relive their savage treatment from the guards and their feelings of helplessness as they were led away to begin their sentence, or to face execution on the gallows.