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16 October 2014
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Bridewell Jail

In past centuries The Bridewell in Magherafelt was where local citizens were locked up for their misdemeanors, unable to communicate with the outside world.

ML 1030

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Bridewell Jail

From Prison to PC Library

In past centuries The Bridewell in Magherafelt was where local citizens were locked up for their misdemeanors, unable to communicate with the outside world. In stark contrast, the doors of today's Bridewell building are well and truly open, the bank of computers inside allowing people to communicate with others world-wide.

Formerly the Court House and jail, The Bridewell now contains Magherafelt's new Library, which was officially opened on 19th June 2002 by Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Michael McGimpsey.

Opening ceremony of Magherafelt Library
Michael McGimpsey christens Magherafelt's new library
19th June 2002

P6 and P7 pupils of Magherafelt's Holy Family Primary School entertained guests with a musical programme, which included a specially written dramatised piece about the history of The Bridewell. You may have missed this wonderful performance, but you can still listen to it here at "Your Place & mine".

 Listen to: Holy Family Primary School pupils unlock The Bridewell's past


The Bridewell building will be used by the NEELB Library Service to provide a wide range of resources, with adult and children's books available for lending along with CD, Video and DVD collections.

Magherafelt Library's bank of computers
Clicking into "Your Place & mine"
Magherafelt Library, The Bridewell

20 PC's provide access to the "People's Network", (a speedy broad band Internet connection) allowing library members to email friends, search for information, use video conferencing facilities and of course visit "Your Place & mine"! Local newspapers, dating from the nineteenth century, are held on microfilm and can be viewed through a special Reader/Printer (including the court report mentioned in the page on Magherafelt's Old Courthouse ).

Click to read history of The Bridewell


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