Prince Rupert's Tower – Merseyside, England - Atlas Obscura

Merseyside, England

Prince Rupert's Tower

This abandoned lock-up was saved because of its connection to a local football team.  

In the middle of a Liverpool park stands the 18th-century structure known as Prince Rupert’s Tower. “Tower” may be a charitable description, as the building is not particularly imposing. But still, it is not a place you would have wanted to end up.

In the days before modern policing, villages and small towns across England and Wales constructed small buildings known as “lock-ups.” These were essentially an early version of the drunk tank, a holding cell where bothersome louts could be locked away for the night, usually to be taken before magistrates in the morning.

This particular lock-up, opened in 1787, was named after Prince Rupert of the Rhine, who camped nearby with his Royalist army during the English Civil War over a century prior. As with most lock-ups, it was abandoned with the introduction of modern policing in the 19th century and fell into disrepair.

The structure was saved by a donation of £15,000 by nearby Everton Football Club in 1997, which paid for the tower to be restored. The connection with Everton comes from a motif of the tower being used on their club crest, first in 1938 and then consistently from the 1970s. The restored tower is now owned by the Liverpool City Council, and its connection to the football club likely ensures that this interesting piece of history will continue to be preserved.

Know Before You Go

The tower is located on Rupert Lane Recreation Ground, about 1.5 miles from Liverpool city center. You can't actually get inside the tower, so you'll have to stick to admiring it from the outside. The park it stands in offers good views of the Liverpool skyline and is serviced by several bus routes.

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