ROCKHEAD PRISON

 

 
Opened in 1860, Rockhead served as the city prison for over a hundred years. It was located in Halifax's north end, near the corner of Leeds and Gottingen (Now Novalea). This page will continue to explore its history.
 

Pre-Demolition

Added: December 21, 2011: The five photos immediately below were taken by Stephen Archibald circa 1970. At the time the building was abandoned and for the most part boarded up.

Photo above taken and contributed by Stephen Archibald

Photo above taken and contributed by Stephen Archibald

Photo above taken and contributed by Stephen Archibald

Photo above taken and contributed by Stephen Archibald

Photo above taken and contributed by Stephen Archibald


The Accommodations

Men's Cell Block - 1960's

Photo from HRM Archives 102-16N-033.1

Used with Permission

Men's Cell Block - 1960's

Photo from HRM Archives 102.30A.7

Used with Permission


Rockhead & The Halifax Explosion

Given its location in the city's north end, I thought it would be interesting to present how the city's worst disaster affected Rockhead.  This is the City Prison Warden's Report for the month of December, 1917 (from the HRM Archives):

To His Worship the Mayor

Members of the Board of Control

and

City Council

 

Gentlemen,

 

I beg to submit the Report of the City Prison for Month Ending December 31st A.D. 1917 as follows.

 

There were 10 male and three female prisoners in custody December 1st, 1917.

 

Two male prisoners were admitted up to Thursday the 6th of December, the day in which the City Prison was wrecked by the recent Explosion. I would report some of the prisoners were sent to the County Jail, some remained to finish their terms and four males escaped.  I would also report progress in temporary repair work at the prison. And the prison now ready for the return of prisoners.

 

I would also report loss of Farm produce, as a result of the explosion.  Farm implements has (sic) suffered considerable wreckage.

 

I would also report Glass on Cupola roof of Main Building damaged, also roof and North Wall of East Wing, roof of Barns, sheds, Cook House roof and walls.

 

All the windows were practically blown out.  The wooden fence  surrounding prison is completely destroyed.  The roof of west wing has been temporary (sic) repaired, which is the only habitable place at present.

 

I am glad to report the plumbing and heating system is practically intact.


April 1952

I selected a month in the early 50's to get an idea what people were going to Rockhead for at that time.  As you can see, the vast majority of sentences were for violations of the Liquor Control Act.

OFFENCE

 


# OF PERSONS SENTENCED


SENTENCE

 


Violation of Liquor Control Act 75x2

 

28

 

25 @ 10 days

3 @ 30 days

Violation of Liquor Control Act 66x2a

1

1 month

Trespass at City Dump

2

15 days

Refusing to pay taxi fare

1

10 days

Theft, desertion, etc

1

90 days

Assault

1

10 days

Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated

2

2 @ 7 days

1 @ 30 days

Carrying a concealed weapon

1

days

False pretences

1

6 months

Theft

3

1 @ 3 months

2 @ 3 months

Stealing a motor vehicle

1

2 @ 1 year

Indecent act

1

10 days

Obtaining Unemployment Insurance Benefits unlawfully

1

month


 

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