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Administrative Offices to former Camp Hill Prison

A Grade II Listed Building in Newport, Isle of Wight

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Latitude: 50.7121 / 50°42'43"N

Longitude: -1.3133 / 1°18'48"W

OS Eastings: 448576

OS Northings: 90494

OS Grid: SZ485904

Mapcode National: GBR 8B9.BRG

Mapcode Global: FRA 8746.84Z

Entry Name: Administrative Offices to former Camp Hill Prison

Listing Date: 15 April 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1423396

Location: Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30

County: Isle of Wight

Civil Parish: Newport

Built-Up Area: Newport

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Isle of Wight

Church of England Parish: Newport St Thomas

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth

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Prison administrative offices of circa 1912.


Prison administrative offices of circa 1912.

MATERIALS: constructed of concrete blocks, moulded into quoins at the corners, reported to have been made by prisoners from nearby Parkhurst Prison. Hipped asbestos tiled roof.

PLAN: the south part is of two storeys with a verandah on three sides, the north part is single-storeyed.

EXTERIOR: the south or entrance front is almost symmetrical with a central gable with kneelers, with a clock face and projecting panel inscribed 'OFFICES'. On the first floor there are eight unequally-spaced sash windows with horns and four-over-four panes. The ground floor has nine windows with ornamental cast iron grilles and a doorcase with rectangular fanlight. The building has moulded quoins and an attached colonial type verandah with a moulded cornice supported on square piers with moulded capitals and plinths.

The southern part of the west front is of two storeys with five windows to the first floor and eight to the ground floor with a similar verandah. The northern part is set back and single-storeyed, also with a verandah.

The southern part of the east front is of two storeys with five windows on the first floor and four on the ground floor with a similar verandah. The northern part is single-storeyed without a verandah.

INTERIOR: there is a plain, straight flight staircase. One ground floor room retains a moulded cornice, dado rail and six-panelled door. No other original fittings survive.


The 1908 Prevention of Crime Act created a new form of imprisonment, Preventive Detention, based both on the USA Penal Reformatory System and 1850s Irish Intermediate Prisons, which aimed both to reform habitual criminals and protect society by removing criminals from it for longer. Criminals who had already served three prison terms, at the same time that they were being sentenced for a further term of imprisonment, could be given an additional term of Preventive Detention.

Building work started on Camp Hill Prison in 1909-10 for Male Preventive Detention Prisoners and it opened in 1912, although it was still being built in 1914-1915. It was the only prison of this type to be built nationally.

The buildings were deliberately less institutional than a conventional prison and the regime was less onerous. Prisoners could earn small wages and grow vegetables to eat or sell to the prison. After two years of model behaviour at the Ordinary Grade they could progress to Special Grade, allowed additional visits, newspapers and tobacco. Those within two years of conditional discharge were eligible for the 'parole lines', 16 self-contained tenements within the prison but outside the walls. At the end of their sentence accommodation and jobs were found for them and their behaviour was monitored.

Camp Hill held Preventive Detainees until 1935 when it became a Borstal. During World War II it housed convicts but reverted to a Borstal again in 1946. During the late 1960s or 1970s the area of the prison was nearly doubled and additional prison wings and workshops were erected. Prisoners were moved out of Camp Hill in 2013.

Reasons for Listing

The Administrative Offices at Camp Hill Prison, circa 1912, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: one of the three most architecturally ambitious buildings within the perimeter walls;
* Rarity: Camp Hill was the only Preventive Detention prison to be specially constructed and the form of this building, with verandahs on three sides, more like a large domestic building than an institutional building, represents the type of penal system being enforced, which was unique nationally;
* Intactness: the exterior is unaltered;
* Group value: the building possesses group value with the Gate House and fomer chapel, also part of the former prison complex.

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