Gaol Block Building (1878)
65 Richmond Street formerly 81 Columbia Street East

The British Columbia Penitentiary has been a prominent landmark in New Westminster for more than 100 years. Work on the penitentiary began in 1874, and proceeded at full speed. Unexpected delays slowed construction and delayed completion to October of 1877. The first building, known as the 187 Block, had a mansard roof and was constructed of heavy stone. It served as the prison and hospital until 1980 when the federal penitentiary was phased out. The Gaol Block building is now part of the Fraserview lands, including over 800 units of housing and the historic Glenbrooke Ravine as parkland. Also retained are the stately gatehouse with its twin towers, a corner guard house, a commemorative cairn, Royal Engineers survey monument, and the 1878 original Gaol Block.


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