Museums for Family Historians – Law & Order

Before the 19th century, prisons served a mainly custodial purpose – secure places where inmates were kept pending the payment of debts or punishments such as transportation or execution. One of those secure places was the tolbooth – from medieval times the civic centre of the Scottish burgh, housing the court room, the council chamber and the jail. The first national prison system was established in 1839 and the majority of purpose-built jails date from then.

In 1800, Britain’s first Police Act, the Glasgow Police Act of 1800, received Royal Assent. The Glasgow Police Museum traces the history of the force up to the present day.

Glasgow Police Museum

  • Address: First Floor, 30 Bell Street, Glasgow G1 1LG
  • Tel: 0141 552 1818
  • E-mail: (Contact form online)
  • Website:

Inveraray Jail

Jedburgh Castle Jail

Peterhead Prison Museum

Stirling Old Town Jail

Stonehaven Tolbooth Museum

[Image courtesy Mitchell Library]

GWSFHS Members receive full access to articles and commenting.

Upcoming Events

See all Events >