The foundation stone was laid by John Joshua Brook on 30 October 1896 with the following inscription:
This stone was laid by Alderman J.J. Brook, J.P., chairman of the Watch Committee, October 30th, 1896, during the Mayoralty of Alderman John Lee Walker, J.P.; F.C. Lloyd, Town Clerk; R.S. Dugdale, M.Inst., C.E., borough engineer.
Built to replace the borough police station on Bull & Mouth Street, the building comprised 15 cells and was situated next to the existing fire station on Princess Street. A tunnel was built under Peel Street to connect the built to the Borough Court in the Town Hall, "so that prisoners can be quietly transferred from the cell to the dock, without any of the excitement which has hitherto attended sensational cases brought before the borough magistrates".