Blind House

Trowbridge-Blind-House

One of Trowbridge’s most recognizable landmarks, The Blind House was used as a lock-up for ‘overnight guests’ of the law during the 18th and 19th centuries: wrongdoers locked up in the blind house would have ranged from serious criminals who would be held until they could be put before justice and committed to trial, to drunks who would be released in the morning when they had sobered up. Sometimes, sympathetic bystanders would even fetch beer and feed it to the prisoners by using one of the long ‘churchwarden’ pipes pushed through a slit in the wall!

A wall carving in one of the cells dates the building to 1758, but some believe that it might date back to the late 17th century. The roof sustained serious damage in July 1942 when a German bomb fell on the upper part of Stallard Street, badly damaging what was the Royal British Legion Club (now Bridge House), and unfortunately resulting in the deaths of two civilians.

“Blind Houses” – so-called because they have no windows – can be found in several Wiltshire towns. In the days before an organised police force they were used as temporary lock-ups. Trowbridge’s first police station was built in 1854, but the Blind House was still used for the overnight detention of vagrants.

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