Hounslow Prison 'For Thieves And Drunks' 'Repoens'

Hounslow Prison 'For Thieves And Drunks' 'Repoens'
Dr Nicola Stacey and Cranford Metropolitan Police Officer outside the lock up (and a small boy inside)

Locking up small children is a generally frowned-upon practice in 21st century London. But here's one set of bars that kids will love being behind.

In a time when the rural landscape of Hounslow was blighted with highwaymen, thieves and drunks (we're talking about the mid-19th century, by the way) this lock up in the village of Cranford, built around 1838, was where captured ne'er do-wells found themselves cooling off for the night.

With its reinforced oak board door, and iron-barred window, this is one of the last lock ups of its kind in the country.

The lock up is hardly roomy, but you'd be surprised how many schoolkids you can fit in there

Out of use a couple of decades after being built, the prison was Grade II listed in 1973, but until recently, was left uncared for, and overrun with ivy.

Now, the Heritage of London Trust, along with the London Borough of Hounslow, has helped restore it. Local schoolchildren were invited to try it out for size.

Says Heritage of London Trust director Dr Nicola Stacey, "The lock up is an amazing survival from the old village of Cranford. It was in very bad condition with big cracks in the brickwork, and no one passing knew what it was used for.

"Now it's been restored you can look inside to imagine life as a Victorian rogue."

Go and experience the rogue's life yourself, at the High Street, Cranford.

Last Updated 13 December 2017