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Report - HMP Verne Citadel, Portland, Octobrrrrr 10

Discussion in 'Other Sites' started by Kinger, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. Kinger

    Kinger 28DL Regular User
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    Yep, the title reads correct, Her Majesty's Prison Verne...

    Markymark, Montstar and Myself can now tick off a prison break (albeit in reverse!)

    The Verne Prison opened in 1949 on the site of a former military barracks dating from the end of the nineteenth century. The prison, which sits high above the harbour on the Isle of Portland, is a Cat C Training Prison for adult males. The population consists of life sentence prisoners and determinate sentenced prisoners, many serving four years or over. About sixty per cent of the prisoners are foreign nationals; over fifty different nationalities represented.

    This little gem has been on our minds for a few months. We had a day out on Portland (not difficult, we all live in Weymouth!) back in August, and spotted a very inviting archway. The trouble was, it was technically inside the prison grounds :banghead
    The entrance is for part of the original Verne Citadel, and to make matters worse, is at the bottom of the 70 foot deep Verne moat, walled at both ends!

    In 1847 a start was made on temporary prison buildings known as The Verne Citadel for prisoners building the Prison Breakwater. The first sixty-four prisoners were landed on 24 November 1848 at Castletown from HM Steamer Driver. The Verne Citadel was designed by Captain W Crossman of the Royal Engineers and enclosed an area of fifty-six acres. A full workforce of one hundred and eighty prisoners laid three million convict-made bricks in two years!

    The "Great Verne Ditch" was excavated by inmates, Royal Engineers and civilians. One million tons of stone were moved from the moat, down the "Incline Railway" and on to Castletown to build the Portland Breakwater. The dry moat is up to 37 metres wide and 22 metres deep......

    The old HMP Verne entrance

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    Some shots of the Verne moat, from the public side of the fence

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    And the archway
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    So, on a cold night a few days ago, we hatched a plan to get into the moat, and hopefully, into the archway.
    We had a lot riding on the hope that the moat, archway and inside were free of PIRs, spotlights, infrared cctv etc etc.

    Shots from the inside;

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    Other side of this door = Live Prisonz :D
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    A surprising little explore! The archway wasn’t the way into the entire citadel complex, but was full of nice features. It kind of had a Crypt or Catacombs feel about it all. The Portland Stone block work was lovely, especially considering it was built by incarcerated men.

    Thanks for looking

    Kinger.
     

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  2. girtrood

    girtrood 28DL Full Member
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    Brilliant pictures, looks a really dark, miserable place to be a prisoner in.!!x
     
  3. TrevBish

    TrevBish www.TrevBish.co.uk
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    I was here a few weeks ago. Its not a prison anymore but now an immigration centre.
     
  4. mrg9999

    mrg9999 28DL Full Member
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    They did an open day last year.
     
  5. Bertie Bollockbrains

    Bertie Bollockbrains 28DL Regular User
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    just to confirm whats already been said: its been an immigration removal centre since 2014 with a capacity of 580 men, making it the second largest in the UK after the one at Heathrow. It's still operated by HMP. As it's miles away from any airport, it's for holding detainees with no realistic chance of imminent removal from the UK (and some people in immigration detention can be held for years)
     
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  6. Montstar

    Montstar 28DL Member
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    All correct. However, there is a large section (the bit that was opened up for the art exhibition) which has now been completely decommissioned. Obviously it's still bloody stupid (not to mention difficult) to try and get in there though! ;) Haha! It's probably also worth mentioning that our point of entry has now been closed up and CCTV installed right above it... bloody spoilsports!
     
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