Report (Permission Visit) - HMP Shepton Mallet/Cornhill, Shepton Mallet - April 2018 | Other Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report (Permission Visit) HMP Shepton Mallet/Cornhill, Shepton Mallet - April 2018


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HMP Shepton Mallet (also known as Cornhill)

So this is the first 'permission visit' report I've ever posted. It's not usually my style, but I actually found this really interesting and thought it would be worth sharing some photos from inside the former Shepton Mallet prison. It's open for guided and self-guided tours alike. Naturally, we went for the self-guided which means they let you wander round at your own pace and leave you to it. I was actually surprised at how relaxed it was, and you could virtually go anywhere. The whole place, give or take, was unlocked.

The prison closed its doors in 2013, and at this point it was the oldest operating prison in the UK. It had held this title since the closure of HMP Lancaster Castle in 2011. It was a category C prison, which could hold up to 189 prisoners at any one time.

The prison building is grade II* listed while the former gatehouse and perimeter walls are grade II.

The prison was opened before 1625 but was already in poor repair by the end of the First English Civil War in 1646. It was expanded in 1790 but conditions were again criticised in a report of 1822 and further building work was undertaken in the 1820s and 1830s. This included the installation of a treadwheel for those sentenced to hard labour. In 1843 the number of cells was increased by adding a second storey to each wing. The prison was damaged during a fire in 1904. In 1930 the number of inmates had fallen and the prison was closed.

Following the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 the prison was reopened as a military prison. It was initially used by the British Army and later by American forces who constructed a new execution block to hang condemned prisoners. It was also used for the storage of important historical documents from the Public Record Office in London, including Domesday Book. Following the war the prison continued as a military "glasshouse" until it was returned to civilian use in 1966.

The prison's closure was announced in January 2013 and completed in March 2013. The building was sold in December 2014 to City and Country for redevelopment, which is planned to include assisted living units alongside retail and social amenity areas. As of 2017 it is open as a visitor attraction and event venue, and tours are available daily under the Jailhouse Tours brand.
As with most of the photos I took in 2018, they're all 8mm fisheye. Sorry to those that aren't a fan of the look - some like it some don't. Granted in some places it just really doesn't work, but I'd say it does alright here.

This is what's left of a proper old school cell. It had been bricked over but discovered when they started doing surveys etc, so they made a hole in the wall to allow people to go in and have a look!

Bit morbid...

Execution room...




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The recreational areas

FFS... :p

So that's that. It's by no means the whole place but there was so much to photograph! There doesn't seem to be any indication as to when the tours will stop and C&C will start work, but if you are in the area I'd definitely recommend a look as it's worth it.