Wanted - Anyone who worked in the Old Nick or spent a night in the cells

The Old Nick, for over one hundred years the Divisional Headquarters of the Lincolnshire Constabulary and the former Magistrates Court in Spring Gardens, Gainsborough, is delving into its past. The courtroom was converted into a small theatre in 1979 but the basic structure remains visible and unaltered, and provides a unique and exciting opportunity for home grown theatre.

The Trustees are now looking to establish the Old Nick as a dedicated learning resource which will provide interactive learning opportunities for the local and wider community. Based on the history of the Lincolnshire Constabulary the guided tours, dramatic re-enactments and educational programmes will bring life to the judicial system of the time.

Much research has already been done but the Trustees are keen to meet and talk with anyone who worked at the Old Nick either in the police force, or as a civilian worker, or in the magistrate's court either as a magistrate or a court official. They would particularly like to talk with anyone who spent a night in the cells, and perhaps left graffiti on the walls.

It would also be good to have any photographs of policemen who served here. If you can help please contact the Old Nick on 01427 239387 or email gainsboroughtheatrecompany@talktalk.net


History of the Old Nick   

As you may imagine from its name, The Old Nick was the original police station in Gainsborough. It is an Italianate-style Grade II building at the junction of Spring Gardens and Cross Street - just past the vehicular access to Marshall's Yard. Back in 1859 land on this site was sold to build a Magistrates' Court and Police Station.

These buildings served their purpose until 1972 when the new police station on Morton Terrace was built followed by the new Magistrates' Court on Church Street in 1978. Mr Douglas Parkinson purchased both of the old buildings in 1978 for £3,250 and in 1980 (the important date for the group) he told the members they could use the premises for rehearsals at a peppercorn rent.

When Mr Parkinson died in 1992 he bequeathed the property to the Gainsborough Theatre Group and then the physical hard work began for them all. Piles of rubbish had to be cleared from many of the inside rooms, the outside stores and around the building itself in order to make it all presentable. This took a lot of time, hard work, sweat and tears for the dedicated members of the group.