“ We are a small independent charitable trust and we open to the public daily from February to December, but we are willing to be as flexible as possible for filming. ”

Sue Dalton, Head of Museums

Architectural History

The Museum is housed in a Cell Block of 1816 which once formed part of the Ripon House of Correction. The original white rendered building of 1686 (now a private house) can still be seen next door and together they make an impressive group. The Cell Block was one of the earliest designs by the aristocratic amateur architect Lord Grantham (3rd Baron Grantham of Newby Hall near Ripon and Wrest Park in Bedfordshire). In 1834, the year after he became the 2nd Earl de Grey, he was asked to become the first President of the newly-founded Institute of British Architects, later the RIBA. The building’s subsequent history was as the Ripon Liberty Prison and then as a West Riding Constabulary Police Station from 1887 to 1958. It reopened as the Prison and Police Museum in 1984 to reflect these twin themes.

Architectural Features

This two-storey brick building with its slate-covered hipped roof looks every bit as grim as its use would suggest, with thick iron bars to all the windows and a high perimeter wall to the exercise yard at the front. Inside, the strength of construction is evident, with all ceilings vaulted above the thick whitewashed brick walls that are pierced by small high-set windows. Both floors have cells lining the central corridor, five on the ground floor and nine on the first floor. All cells have a system of hinged metal flags operated by the inmates to call the warder – reminiscent of a country house servants’ bell system. One cell retains an original heavy iron door of 1816, complete with spy hole and food hatch, and contains an original solid wooden bed. Worn stone steps link the two floors which are largely stone-flagged, as is the front yard.

Filming Attributes

The Museum is accessed from a fairly busy B road making vehicle access to the front door limited. However, there is a large public car park about 200 yards away. Once closed to the public, the Museum is completely private. There is 3G and normal mobile reception, but no Wi-Fi. There are several interesting natural light sources. Night shoots and the use of hot works can be discussed and the use of animals in the building is permitted. Staff can be on hand to assist film crews.


Special Considerations

  • Accommodate Unit Base
  • Animals Allowed
  • Hotworks
  • Night Shoots
  • Weekend Shoots


The Museum is situated in the centre of Ripon opposite a block of flats.

Crew and Relevant Links


Email: info@riponmuseums.co.uk

Phone: 01765 690799

Website: www.riponmuseums.co.uk