16 July 1887: “The new prison on Plumstead Road, Norwich, designed by the surveyor to the Prison Department, and built by Messrs W and T Denne, of Walmer, Kent, was completed on this date. The prisoners were transferred from the Castle to the new prison on August 2nd.”
(Charles Mackie, Norfolk Annals (Norwich, 1901) ii, p. 381).
The prison accommodated both male and female prisoners until December 1924, when the women were transferred to Holloway Prison in London.
In 1925, Ipswich Prison was closed and the male prisoners were transferred to Norwich.
Description of the prison in 1890
“Her Majesty’s Prison for the county is situated on Plumstead Road beyond the Britannia Barracks.
“It was built in 1886-7 by the Government in substitution for Norwich Castle as a prison for the county and city.
“The principle on which it is built is the most approved – one long building with three floors of cells, the upper floors being reached by galleries – so that complete supervision can be exercised.
"The prison stands in extensive walled-in grounds. Mr A E Dent, the governor, resides close by.”
(William White, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Norfolk (Sheffield, 1890) p526).
- Nominal registers (giving prisoners’ names and details such as date and place of committal, date and place of trial and of conviction, offence, sentence, education, age, height and colour of hair, trade or occupation, religion and birth place, number of previous convictions and date of discharge): both male and female prisoners, 1879-83; female prisoners only, 1883-1907 and 1921-24; male prisoners only, 1884-85, 1887-90, 1894-96 and 1900-64 (HMP 1; 1879-1937 available on microfilm MF 1284-1295)
- Indexes to nominal registers, 1879-98 and 1937-64 (HMP 2; 1879-98 available on microfilm MF 1296)
- Record of conviction registers, 1906-35 (HMP 3)
- Registers of aliens and Commonwealth citizens, 1921-72 (HMP 4)
- Photograph album of prisoners, 1907-35 (HMP 5, unfit for production, available on microfilm MF/RO 622/6)
- Calendars of prisoners, 1927-64 (HMP 6)
- Governor's journals, 1901-88 (HMP 7) - closed to public inspection for 70 years
- Britannia Annexe governor's journals, 1970-84 (HMP 8) - closed to public inspection for 70 years
- Visiting committee minute books, 1913-71 (HMP 9) - closed to public inspection for 70 years
- Visiting committee minutes and observation books, 1963-72 (HMP 10) - closed to public inspection for 70 years
- Chairman of visiting committee's papers, 1863-1910 (HMP 11)
- Prison inspector's and director's minute books, 1881-1991 (HMP 12) - closed to public inspection for 70 years
- Governor's annual reports, 1932-58 (HMP 13)
- Visitors' books, 1898-1989 (HMP 14) - closed to public inspection for 30 years
- Visitors' comments book, 1922-38 (HMP 15)
- Registers of officers, 1882-1972 (HMP 16) - closed to public inspection for 50 years
- Officers' pay books, 1915-26 (HMP 17)
- Registers of temporary officers, 1924-58 (HMP 18)
- Record of corporal punishments, 1927-45 (HMP 19)
- Record of prisoners' petitions, 1894-1960 (HMP 20)
- Registers of prisoners' applications, 1955-76 (HMP 21)
- Statistics registers relating to remand and trial prisoners, 1936-65 (HMP 22)
- Special search registers, 1972-91 (HMP 23) - closed to public inspection for 50 years
- Governor's orders books, 1965-77 (HMP 24) - closed to public inspection for 70 years
- Governor's papers, 1889-1992 (HMP 25) - closed to public inspection for 70-75 years
- Medical officer's papers, 1940-60 (HMP 26) - some papers closed to public inspection for 100 years
- Steward's papers, 1960-65 (HMP 27)
- Pattern books, 1911-65 (HMP 28)
- Tools ledgers, c1960 (HMP 29)
- Canteen records, 1970-72 (HMP 30)
- Staff housing records, 1970-86 (HMP 31) - closed to public inspection for 50 years
- Prison photographs, 1983-c1987 (HMP 32)
- Copies of Prison Commission/Service circulars and memoranda, 1885-1960 (HMP 33)
- Copies of Prison Service monthly circulars, 1940-66 (HMP 34)
- Copies of Prison Service staff circulars and notices, 1954-67 (HMP 35)
- Indexes to Prison Service circulars and memoranda, 1943-58 (HMP 36)
- Books of reference, 1884-c1964 (HMP 37)