As well as a ‘drunk tank’, it was also a place of detention pending the transfer of an accused to the nearest place where justice could be administered. The key was kept by the Parish Constable.
The building is divided by a partition wall forming two cells of equal dimensions. One cell was reserved for men and the other for women: “There lived at Barmouth at this time a number of the fair sex who habitually caused disturbances”. This possibly is the reason why half the Round House at Barmouth was earmarked for women.
The building of the Round House was the outcome of a meeting of the freeholders and principal inhabitants of the town, which was held at the Corsygedol Arms Inn on the 21st October 1830. After some discussion the meeting passed the following resolutions:
FIRST: That it is a matter of notoriety that drunken riots take place very frequently in the town of Barmouth – and that such wanton mischief is perpetrated at late hours insomuch that the peace and comfort of the respectable inhabitants are sacrificed – and great injury done to the morals of the neighbourhood.
SECOND: That the evil is increasing because the Constables are unable to act effectively from the want of some receptacle in which to place offenders until they can be brought before the Magistrate.
THIRD: That application be therefore made to the Quarter Sessions praying the Magistrate to take into consideration the evil complained of, together with the poverty of the Parish and to order a Lock-up House to be provided in the town at the expense of the County rates.
FOURTH: That the Magistrates be further requested to take measures for the appointment of a few Special Constables.
The building was completed in 1834 and ceased to be used as a lock-up only when the County Authorities erected the Barmouth Police Station in 1861.