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Situated in the grounds of the Cotswold District Council offices in Trinity Road is the old town lock-up, now restored and open to visitors. This tiny two-cell building represents a part of Cirencester's history now largely forgotten, but the building itself is listed as of historical and architectural interest and has a distinctive domed roof shape which gave rise to its local name of 'the dumping house'.
The lock-up was built early in the 19th century and used for the overnight detention of wrong-doers in the days before the police force was established. In 1837 it was moved stone by stone to its present site to form part of the new town workhouse opened in that year. These buildings were refurbished some years ago as the District Council Offices, but it is still possible to appreciate the scale and something of the character of the old workhouse.
The Council's museum service looks after the building and has installed a sequence of displays to show the history of lock-ups in the county and also the workhouse itself; additional displays include the conservation work and refurbishment of historic buildings by local authorities in the district. Access to the lock-up is at no charge and a key is obtainable on request, during normal office hours, at the Trinity Road reception. A booklet is obtainable from the museum.