Down County Museum in Downpatrick, Co. Down collects, conserved, and exhibits artifacts from throughout centuries of history in Co. Down. The current museum stands in the historic buildings of the old Downpatrick Gaol.
Downpatrick Gaol opened in 1796 and housed thousands of inmates until its closure in 1830. Some prisoners had committed minor offences but others were rebels captured after the Battle of Saintfield and the Battle of Ballynahinch in 1798. One famous inmate was the United Irishman Thomas Russell, executed for his part in the 1803 rebellion.
Down County Museum began restoring the old Gaol in 1981. Visitors today can visit old cells and courtyards restored to their 18th-century look and feel.
Royal Artillery Inspection in 1942
On 20th January 1942, Lieutenant J.R. Bainbridge, a photographer for the War Office took the following photographs outside the Gaol. Major General James S. Steele D.S.O., M.C. inspects soldiers of 116th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, 59th (Staffordshire) Division on English Street, Downpatrick, Co. Down.