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Report - HMP Gloucester - Sept 2013

Discussion in 'Other Sites' started by Hpipe, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. Hpipe

    Hpipe 28DL Regular User
    Regular User

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    I’ve not posted a report in a long long time (and infact even checked the FAQ for current picture size regulations!), so coming back with a report of a permission visit seems a bit lame, but I figure this is worth it, seeing as there is pretty much fuck all chance of getting in here any other way for a while.

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    Some history and the current situation:
    HMP Gloucester opened as a County Gaol in 1792, and was substantially rebuilt in 1840. A new young offenders wing was built at the prison in 1971. Further improvements were made in 1987, including a new gate, administration block and visits centre. On 10 January 2013, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced that the prison was one of seven in England to close. The prison formally closed on 31 March 2013. The site of the prison is due to be redeveloped, and various reuses of the buildings have been suggested, including flats, a hotel and a museum. However, a couple of significant obstacles to any reuse exist:

    A. It is believed that at least 120 former inmates are buried in unmarked graves at the site. The majority are known to be located beneath the current gymnasium building, but other human remains have been found around the site at various times, and thus extensive investigation of the entire site will likely be necessary.
    B. The prison was built on the site of Gloucester Castle, and English Heritage have expressed an interest in further archaeological investigation as part of any redevelopment effort, likely adding time and huge cost to any redevelopment.

    HMP Gloucester’s most famous inmate was Fred West, who was held there for five years after being convicted for sexual offences, long before the horrors of nearby 25 Cromwell Street were revealed.

    The site has been open for visits this weekend, as part of the Heritage Open Days weekend. Tickets went fast and left a lot of locals disappointed, so more have been released for next weekend, but I imagine they’re also long gone. The tours this weekend lasted 60 minutes, with each group ushered around some major parts of the ex-prison by a couple of the former wardens. They were knowledgeable and thoroughly professional chaps, and had some excellent stories about their service there.

    Pics were permitted, thank god, but the tour was rapid, so there wasn’t time for details. All of the shots were handheld and most internals at very high ISO. Despite all of that, I’m happy-ish with what I got, given the circumstances.

    Visited with Kempes.

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    A block / Reception / B block. C block on the right
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    Exercise yard. You can't see it in this shot, but there is a mesh covering this, to stop 'passers by' from throwing contraband over the nearby wall into the yard. It started off as nylon but the prisoners kept setting fire to it. They changed it to plastic, and it collapsed when it snowed one year, so now it's metal.
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    C block, for young offenders
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    Internal perimeter road through the left gate. To the left of this was a filled-in entrance to a tunnel that led to the County Court in the city. The other end is apparently still accessible. As seen here - there is razor wire everywhere. Lots of it. According to the wardens, razor wire is technically illegal now, and the prison was required to pay a £35Kpa fine to HMG because it was there. That was seen as an acceptable and required cost of security, and is probably the same at every other prison. That's one government department fining another. Bonkers.
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    The inside of the original prison gate. Behind the doors seen here are the original wooden gate doors, preserved behind perspex.
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    The end of A block. To the top right you can see where an additional outbuilding joined this block, and further down some brickwork that was filled in. The missing outbuilding is where they used to hang people, and the later brickwork fills the hole through from cell A2-14, where the condemned man was held prior to his execution.
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    Moving inside: the visits centre. Note the marks on the floor where the tables and chairs used to be screwed down.
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    Around A block
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    Enormous chapel. They used to hold a cinema in here.
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    B block
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    Communal area
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    with a communal bathroom area attached to it
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    The majority of the A and B block cells were like this.
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    I have no doubt that this site has loads more to offer, but this was a decent start.
    Thanks for looking.
     

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