To provide you with the best experience on this website, cookies are used. By using the site it's assumed that you're happy with our use of cookies. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. More info on cookies.
Allow cookies

Sessions House Square

This space is dominated by the neo-Baroque facade of County Hall, designed by F.W. Ruck and built between 1910-1913, with further extensions in the 1930s. Behind it, and glimpsed through the arch, is the original Sessions House, designed by Sir Robert Smirke (architect of the British Museum) and dating from 1826-7.

Behind Sessions House lies Maidstone Prison. The original County Prison was situated in the High Street in the 17th century, but moved to a new building in King Street in 1746. By 1806 this was seriously overcrowded, and a committee appointed by the West Kent Justices decided to rebuild on a new site, and in 1810 the architect Daniel Alexander was appointed - probably because a leading justice was Viscount Marsham, whose father had rebuilt Mote Park to Alexander's designs some ten years earlier. Alexander had also already designed Dartmoor Prison.

Designs were produced by 1811 in a typical symmetrical model prison layout, with a central circular keeper's house and chapel and three small circular turnkey's houses linked by long straight wings with three short wings on the other sides. The building of the prison entailed alterations to the street pattern, and this, plus the building of the massive perimeter wall, was completed by 1812. The rest of the prison buildings, built of brick with ragstone facings and cast iron roof structures, were complete by 1819. The cost was £200,000 making it one of the most expensive and ambitious prisons of its time. The finished prison provided 452 night cells for prisoners.

The building of the prison ended unfortunately for Alexander who, in May 1819, reported that he had discovered fauds to the value of £2,674 in the building accounts. He admitted neglect and liability and was censured and dismissed from the job in 1819. However, in proceedings taken against him he was acquitted, so at least he did not have the ignominy of being incarcerated in his own prison!

Search Accommodation

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)
Check-in date
Add Room

Search Things to Do

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)

Search What's On

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)
Date

Search Food & Drink

Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)

Search Shopping

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)

Search Accommodation

Type:
Area:
Keyword: (OPTIONAL)
Check-in date
Add Room

Now featuring traveller reviews from TripAdvisor.