Old Caernarfon police station

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Link to Welsh translationOld Caernarfon police station

This police station was built in 1853 to the designs of local architect John Lloyd. The medieval town walls form the left-hand end of the building. The police station was adjacent to the county hall, which included a courtroom, and the town’s 18th-century prison was behind. Suspects could be held, charged and tried in the same area.

The “Carnarvonshire Constabulary Police” was formed in early 1857, after Parliament legislated in 1856 for every area of England and Wales to have its own police force. The county’s chief constable was based here. Initially his salary was £250 a year, and he was allowed £50 for travel and other expenses.

The first chief constable was Captain T Williams Ellis. He was elected in March 1857 by a panel of clergy, landowners and other prominent men. They had earlier voted, by 27 to seven, that a knowledge of the Welsh language was “indispensable” for the post, rather than “desirable”.

Initially there were four inspectors, five sergeants and 23 constables. In September 1857 the government’s inspector of constabulary, Waterloo veteran William Cartwright, said he was satisfied with each of the Carnarvonshire Constabulary’s divisions – except that one or two officers weren’t fluent enough in English.

In 1869 Chief Constable Williams Ellis had three cartloads of nitroglycerine seized until “further precautions” had been taken. This followed the explosion of two carts carrying nitroglycerine to slate quarries as they passed Cwm-y-glo – probably the loudest man-made explosion which had ever occurred.

After the Second World War, three county police forces merged to create Gwynedd Constabulary. They were joined in 1967 by the Denbighshire and Flintshire forces. This combined force became North Wales Police in 1974.

Policing of Caernarfon relocated to Maesincla in 1997. The old police station later became home to translation company Cymen.

With thanks to Clive James, of Caernarfon Civic Society

Postcode: LL55 2AU    View Location Map

Website of Cymen

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