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Ball & Chain


Image - Ball & Chain
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Halton Region Museum
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Nom de l'objet : Ball & Chain
Discipline : Local History
Matériaux : Iron
Numéro de catalogue : 1962.208.1.1
Numéro d'accession : 1962.208
Date absolue : c. 1856
Description : Prisoner's ball and chain from the Halton County Court House. Iron ball with iron chain, blackish colour, about 45 lb.
Fonctions : Used at Halton's first court house, the ball and chain would be attached to the prisoner's ankle. This device weighed about 45 lbs and would keep the prisoner from going anywhere too quickly.

The establishment of county governments in 1849 charged each county with the administration of its own judicial system, including the erection of a court house and jail. In communities throughout Canada West (Ontario), these imposing buildings reinforced the values of the British judicial system as the cornerstone of civilized society.

In Halton County, the court house with its attached jail was constructed in 1854 and opened in 1855 in Milton. The architects were instructed to "erect a ventilating and heating apparatus for the prison, also for the court room and to provide the same with a judge's chair, desk, lamps, stoves and pipes for offices, and for each jury room one pine table and two benches and to install water closets."

The Court House was built in the Anglo-Norman style situated in the middle of a four-acre square of land from the Hugh Foster survey. Located on Brown Street in Milton, the land was a gift from Hugh Foster. Built with its back to the town, its private roadway and green space were guarded. It was built with limestone found in the area. The cost was 3900 pounds including furnishings.

On March 6, 1855 the Halton County Council met for the first time in its new building. In 1877 an addition to the jail was built. The year 1915 saw the erection of the Registry Office. In 1954 the tower was removed from the jail section.

The Court House was a focus for much of town life: Council meetings were held in the building and court proceedings took place attracting large crowds. The Knox Presbyterian Church congregation met in the building until the church building was completed, and the Library/Milton Mechanics Institute used it for lectures. The first Milton Town Council meeting was held within its walls in 1857.

In the County Square (Halton County Court House and Jail property) there was also much activity. The year 1857 saw celebrations for the Queen's birthday, as well as the cricket club, the lawn tennis players and the shuffleboard club using the grounds. On a more sober note, 3 hangings (1858, 1862, 1883) also took place in the County Square.

1974 saw the closing of the Court House, the formation of the Regional Municipality of Halton, and the Province of Ontario assuming responsibilities. In 1980 the Town of Milton acquired the Court House and following renovations, it became the new Milton Town Hall. In 2009 the building underwent further renovations and an addition was constructed.
Longueur : 95.700
Diamètre extérieur : 16.000
Unité de mesure linéaire : CM
Établissement : Halton Region Museum
Ville de l'établissement : Milton
Province de l'établissement : Ontario
Site web de l'établissement : http://www.halton.ca/museum  

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