Chance to spend time 'inside' prison
By David Wood
With its rich history and interesting use, Gloucester Prison is a must visit and there's a chance to have a gulded tour next month.
In use since the Normans, the site was the location for a huge castle possibly bigger than the Tower of London. This was used as the original county prison until it was demolished and the new Gloucester County Gaol and Penitentiary was opened in 1791.
In the 1820s, the prison was rebuilt again, with the perimeter walls being extended, a new debtors' prison being added and a new gatehouse being built in the north-east wall.
Executions took place on the roof of the new gatehouse from 1826 until 1868 when public executions became illegal.
In the mid-18th century more was added to the prison in the form of three landing cell blocks (A Wing and B Wing) which were built around the original (1791) gatehouse. The prison was renamed The Gloucester County Prison. In total 123 people were executed by hanging at the prison - the last in 1936.
During the second half of the twentieth century, more building work was undertaken. In the 1970s, C-Wing, another cell block was added to the prisoner accommodation. Further major reconstruction of the site took place, with old buildings being cleared to make way for a reception and administration block in the mid 1980s
In the modern era, HMP Gloucester was classified as a Category B adult male local prison and young offenders institution. It was intended to hold mainly those on remand or newly sentenced and waiting to be sent to another prison. The prison was closed in 2013 due to overcrowding, its old design and expensive upkeep.
A series of guided tours of Gloucester Prison are taking place on Saturday, August 14 at 10am, 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm.
It is strongly advised that no under 14s take part in the 2.30pm and 5pm tours as there are details of death, violence, paranormal activity and swearing. If you are easily offended, the first two tours are family friendly.
There is free parking on site via the main modern wooden gate off Barrack Square.
Tickets are £15 per person and can be purchased here
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