Bedford Assizes & Gaol in 1835
The shire-hall, in which the assizes and sessions are held is a good stone building, erected in the year 1753.
In the same part of the town a new county gaol was erected in 1801, towards the building of which the elder Mr. Whitbread left a legacy of £500. The prisoners sleep in separate cells ; and the system of tread-mill labour and silence is enforced on the convicts. In this gaol the town-prisoners are maintained by contract.
The house of industry is a large and handsome brick building, completed in 1796. It is fitted up with every useful accommodation, and great attention is paid to the health and comfort of the inmates ; but say the Lysons, 'in point of economical contrivance, perhaps it is inferior to some buildings of a like nature.
A handsome building, erecting by the subscription of shareholders, is now (1835) in progress, and is intended to contain a public library, news-room, ball-room, billiards-rooms, a savings' bank, and rooms for lectures, &c.