1916-1929: The jail was closed

The jail was closed in 1916 and from 1919 until its demolition the jail acted as a military prison when the army authorities had taken over the prison and it was for those prisoners convicted by court martial.

A home office order had been sent to the magistrates of the borough directing that all prisoners committed by them should be sent to the prison in Birmingham. There had been a decrease in the level of crime and the prison had not been fully utilized. The existing staff at the prison did not remain in authority after being taken over and the institution was entirely under the command of the commandant appointed by the Army authorities.

In 1929 the prison was demolished and most of the cell blocks and the other buildings on the inside of the boundary wall were demolished with only the curtain wall and the imposing entrance remaining. The bell, the stores and equipment were all sold off for auction. The buildings couldn’t be sold off until the bodies of the murderers had been exhumed and the work was expected to take two months to do. The bodies were buried in a plot of land beneath the prison walls before the freehold could sell it onto prospective purchases. The building and material was estimated as being worth £10,000.

Derby Prison (The County Gaol) party demolished
Source: Picture the Past | Website: www.picturethepast.org.uk | Credit: Derby Evening Telegraph