The prison was designed in collaboration with the Borough Surveyor and by May of 1865 plans were approved for a prison building, designed initially to house 36 male and 12 female prisoners plus 4 debtors or juveniles ( a capacity which was later to increase to 79). Work on the £12,000 prison commenced in September 1865; by October the foundation stone was laid and February of the following year a “roofing supper” for some 300 guests was held at The Prince of Wales Hotel, in Scarborough..
Work proceeded at a pace and in October 1866 the doors were thrown open to 22 male and 22 female prisoners who were transferred from the Castle Road jail. There were 36 cells built over 3 floors, 12 to a floor, six each side and 2 feet thick whitewashed walls. It appears that prison overcrowding was not an issue! Only a week after the new escape proof prison opened its doors it figuratively did so again when a prisoner by the name of Scott devised a cunning plan which ultimately resulted in his making use of an improvised rope and scaling the 15 foot wall and making his escape.