Campbell Square Bridewell is one of Liverpool’s Victorian gaols it is believed to have been built in the mid 19th century. Charles Dickens is said to have been sworn in as a special constable here for one night in the 1860s to carry out research for his book, The Uncommercial Traveller.
He would have accompanied regular officers out on the beat to witness first-hand the state of criminality in Liverpool then a booming shipping town and he would have certainly seen some memorable sights. A Chief Constables annual police report in 1863 quotes statistic of 26,220 arrests made that year. It is believed Dickens went on patrol around Salthouse and Albert Dock and Wapping, Liver Street and Canning Place.
With its proximity to the docks it can be assumed that the Bridewell would have been the prison of choice to process a large number of wrong-doers. Thanks to the technological improvements of the 20th Century and shifts in policing methods, the building fell into disuse and lay vacant for many years.
The premises re-opened as ‘The Liverpool One Bridewell’ pub but closed its doors for the final time in April 2016 when the owners reached the end of their lease.
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