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Prison & Police Museum

Enter the grim prison with whitewashed cells and barred windows.  On the ground floor is a history of policing in Yorkshire from the Anglo-Saxons to the formation of professional policing.

Upstairs, crime and punishment is the theme - with many hands-on activities to help imagine the horror of the Victorian prison regime.

Don't miss Prisoners on Prisoners art installation in Cell 13 from 8th February to 28th March 2021.

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Visit all three museums to walk in the footsteps of past generations Full opening times →


The Prison & Police Museum is housed in the former Ripon Liberty Prison, which later became Ripon Police Station. It is a fitting setting to explore the history of Yorkshire policing and the harsh realities of the Victorian prison.

Cell 13 holds our current exhibition, Prisoners on Prisoners, an art installation by Faye Claridge sharing the experiences of current and historic female prisoners through audio, textile and photography. Faye connects historic prison archives with inmates at HM Askham Grange, to explore similarities and differences in their lives and prison experiences.  Through prison workshops for participants to ‘adopt’ a prisoner from the museum’s Edwardian and Victorian criminal record books, Faye has made recordings of their comparisons and created portraits to link with archive mugshots. The artwork gives prisoners a way to share their perspectives and for prison museum visitors to consider the individual lived experience of justice systems.

Step through the gate into the prison yard, where you can “lock up” your friends and family in the pillory or experience the whipping post. Enter the museum, where our galleries are housed in the original atmospheric prison cells, with their white-washed walls and barred windows.

Downstairs you’ll discover the history of policing in Yorkshire, from the Anglo-Saxons to the formation of professional policing. Police uniform, insignia and transport are all displayed, with the chance to sit on an original police motorcycle.

Tread the stone stairs, worn by the feet of prisoners, to the first floor (or take the lift), where crime and punishment is the theme. Experience the isolation of our empty cell, turn the crank, and learn about other types of punishment, including transportation or the birching chair. Try your hand at detective work with our photo-fit challenge and learn about the science of fingerprinting.

To experience the harsh world of the Victorian prison, we recommend spending at least an hour and a half in the Prison & Police Museum. Why not combine it with our Courthouse and Workhouse, with a joint ticket?


Adult (16+) £7.50
Concession £7.00
Child (6-15yrs) £5.50
Child (5yrs and under) FREE
Our museum tickets are all valid for 12 months. Ripon Museum Trust is a registered charity and our annual tickets and donations are eligible for Gift Aid.

Did you know?

We grow vegetables and fruit varieties which could have been found here in 1890.


I loved the Dickens characters - they played their roles excellently! - Thank you.