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The old historic fabric of the Gaol building in South Molton was recorded prior to, and monitored throughout, the renovation and conversion works. The Old Gaol was a purpose-built municipal prison; part of a small complex of buildings constructed for the administration of justice in South Molton during the early to mid part of the 19th century. It comprised a rectangular two storey building of semi-coursed blocky mixed stone rubble with creamy lime pointing and with a recently added modern pitched slate roof and modern windows at first floor level. The building survey highlighted the utilitarian ethos of the builders of the Gaol in prevention of further crime. Here there was a clear emphasis on security, with the impenetrable ceilings of the cells, the heavy reinforced doors and barred openings, and the lack of openings on three of the four elevations. The gaol must also have been a far more sanitary place than the former gaol, with whitewashed walls, lime floors, an exercise yard and day rooms, with the possibility of the inmates performing useful tasks during daylight hours.