Thomas Brown of Edinburgh, 1847, extended 1871. Irregularly composed 2-storey Jacobethan former prison, comprising 8 x 2-bay near symmetrical gabled cell block to SW, gabled wing advanced to left of centre of NE (principal) front giving approximate T-plan to original design. 2-storey, gabled L-plan infill in re-entrant angle to right of principal gable with later 4-bay, single storey addition advanced at ground to Ralston Road. Stugged ashlar walls and dressings, droved at arrises. Eaves course, chamfered arrises.
NE (RALSTON ROAD) ELEVATION: single bay of cell block visible at outer left. 5-bay, 2-storey symmetrical and gabled wing projecting at centre comprising advanced outer bays (with narrow hoodmoulded windows), each extending up to paired panelled dies forming bases to stacks. Centre
3 bays, closely spaced, hoodmoulds at centre ground floor window, 1st floor windows and slit window centring gablehead. 2-bay, 2-storey L-plan infill to outer right with cell windows in bay to right. Entrance block at ground floor comprising single storey 4-bay elevation to Ralston Road comprising entrance door at 3rd bay with chimney gable above, bipartite windows at other bays, crenellated parapet to outer right.
SE ELEVATION: 2-bay gable end of cell block at outer left, blank at ground floor, narrow blind window at 1st floor left. Single-flue apex stack corbelled out to square shaft at gablehead with octagonal shaft and cope above. 2-bay side elevation of NW wing set back and projecting to right, entrance door at ground floor left, blank bay at ground and 1st floor right.
SW (REAR) ELEVATION: 8-bay near symmetrical elevation, cell windows at ground and 1st floor except for tall opening at 5th bay, and windows at 6th and 7th bay of ground floor.
NW ELEVATION: 2-bay gable end of cell block at outer right with window at 1st floor left bay, and apex stack matching SE elevation. Blank gable end of infill at left.
12-pane timber sash and case windows to most openings of principal and side elevations, 8-pane at narrower openings. Rear elevation; variety of glazing including 18-pane fixed lights with iron bars at upper floor, modern window at ground floor 5th bay, timber sash and case and glass bricks elsewhere. 2-leaf, 6-panel entrance doors with 2-pane fanlight above. Grey slate roof with cast-iron gutters and downpipes. Triangular ashlar skew copes with block skewputts. Stugged ashlar stacks, octagonal with deep copes, mostly with circular cans. Large stack centring ridge of NE wing with square base, octagonal shaft and cope. 3-flue stack at ridge of infill with rectangular base and canted ends to shaft and cope.
INTERIOR: layout of cell block largely intact comprising central vaulted corridor at ground and 1st floor; vaulted prison cells with stone slab floors and painted stone walls. Some original studded timber doors surviving.
BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERS: stugged and coursed rubble wall with saddleback cope to Ralston Road, square gatepiers with encircling iron hinges for modern steel gates. High random rubble wall bounding rear of yard with saddleback cope.
Statement of Special Interest
The Town Hall had served both as a courthouse and prison from 1760.
By the 1840?s, the available space was inadequate for both functions. Following the Prisons (Scotland) Act in 1839, the Argyllshire Prison Board was formed in the county to oversee the prisons in Inveraray, Campbeltown and Tobermory. After much deliberation the Board secured a site for a new prison on the Castlehill. Thomas Brown (circa 1781-1850) of Edinburgh, was the architect of the new jail, completed in 1847 at a cost of ?3250.2s.5d. Conditions inside the new prison can be judged from information contained in the minutes of the Prison Board. The institution had to be inspected regularly and the reports of the inspectors show infants and children to be frequently incarcerated with their mothers. A typical entry reads "31st May 1856. Visited the prison this day and found 10 male prisoners and 5 female prisoners, one of the latter having her infant child - found all in good order (signed) John Beith, jun".