County Court

The County Court in Bluetown was constructed in 1852 at a cost of £2,000 with the first stone being laid on Thursday 6th November 1851 by James Espinasse esq., Recorder of Rochester and the Judge of the new court that was to be built adjacent to the lock up. At half past one a procession marshalled by the High Bailiff, Mr William Edgecombe, walked from the (then current) courthouse to the intended site of the new one, on arrival Reverend W. Pry offered up prayers for the success in the undertaking and the due administration of justice. Judge Espinasse then proceeded to lay the first stone whilst ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘Rule Britannia’ were played by the Admiral’s band. This was followed by the judge addressing the people present and he stated that “it gave him great satisfaction to lay the foundation of this commodious and elegant structure for the administration of justice in this place”. It was stated that pimps, prostitutes and drunks were regular customers of the court.

In August 1855 Judge James Espinasse complained about the noise heard inside the court caused by carts travelling along the High Street, this led to the cobbles of Bluetown being covered in tarmac. Inside the basement is a bricked up arch that, supposedly, is the entrance to a tunnel that connected the court and the lock up.

The building, two storeys high with a single storey court room, is built of yellow brick with rusticated stone dressings and a parapet with a Royal Cartouche. A porch was added in the late 19th Century. The building has now been converted to 6 luxury apartments with a courtyard and terraced gardens and is a grade II listed building.

Designed & built by - Kevin Ali