ID #3175

Lock Street Gaol Shopping Complex, East London, Border, Eastern Cape.

The gaol in Lock Street was built in 1880, replacing a poorly built and overcrowded one on the West Bank. James Tyrrell, a local builder was commissioned by the public works department. Stone from excavations in the harbour and bricks from local brickmakers were used in its construction.  The first death sentence was carried out in 1882.  Initially a drop gallows was erected in the hospital yard. A gallows block comprising an execution chamber and three death cells was built in 1905.  The gaol again became too small. The daily average of prisoners reached 203 in 1927 and further accommodation was added in1929. The importance began to decline thereafter, and from 1935 all death sentences were carried out in Pretoria.  The death cells were then converted into ordinary cells and the gallows room became a workroom.  By 1940, it was apparent that the Lock Street Gaol did not meet official requirements and was too small. In 1950, all male prisoners were transferred to Fort Glamorgan and the gaol was used exclusively by female prisoners.  It remained in use until 1979. It is one of the oldest buildings in East London and the oldest on the east side of the Buffalo River.  In 1987, it was restored and converted into a lively shopping complex.  This was done without destroying the character of the building. The dreary cells now house skilled craftsmen and upmarket cottage industries. Events in the prison yard include flea markets, exhibitions, bands, dancers and puppet shows, especially during school holidays. Special events are staged regularly. The Gaol–Jail Fun Run from Lock Street Gaol to Fort Glamorgan is held annually in July. Visit the death cells and the original gallows – carefully restored and in working order. “Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage”

East London is at the intersection of the N2 with the N6. AZLock

Contct:            Pieter Strumpher
+27 (43) 743 5485+27 (43) 743 5485

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Last update: 2014-05-25 22:38
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.3

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Comment of Nicholas Nel:
Is it haunted? Thats what I want to know.
Added at: 2013-10-16 17:38