Report - - Prison 15H - France - August 2013 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Prison 15H - France - August 2013


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Prison 15H - France

Visited with Nobby and Markymark

Before I even start on this report I'd like to mention the pikeys! Now we'd been warned about them camping close to the prison prior to leaving the UK but nothing could prepare us for what we found. I was expecting the obligatory 20 odd caravans with a few transits like you get in the UK. This was in a whole different league, there were probably over 100 caravans, we naively followed the sat-nav which led us straight into the biggest pikey village I've ever seen. There were smashed up cars on their roofs and caravans in every direction you could see, the buggers had even tapped into the mains electricity somewhere because we found their cables. Thankfully our choice of ferry meant we got there before the lazy bastards had dragged their arses out of bed so we made a speedy retreat. Be warned if you go though, DON'T underestimate how many there are, you really don't want to be running into them!!!

So we eventually parked well away from the pikey village and headed towards the prison the long way round. The usual tourist route into this place is very well sealed now so access isn't quite as straight forward as it used to be. In fact, that's an understatement. Prisons, by their very nature are supposed to be secure, and by design, are to prevent any unauthorised entries or more importantly, exits. With a bit of improvisation, we made it in. If it wasn't for Nobby being some sort of ninja, we wouldn't have got into this place so thanks for that mate, it's much appreciated.


Prison 15H started life as an Abbey many hundreds of years ago before it became a prison. It was decided that the 2 small prisons in this area were far from sufficient, some prisoners had to share beds due to the shortage of cells. In 1819, plans were drawn up to convert the Abbey into a new prison.


By 1823, the first stage was complete and the prison opened. By 1829, they were once again running out of space so plans were proposed for the prison to be redesigned and expanded. Several drafts were made and a decision was made in 1831 on the new revised layout. Work commenced but was not completed until 1839. Inmates could now be segregated by sex and category and were moved into separate wings.

The prison ran well until in 1885 when they ran into yet more overcrowding problems which lead to inmates sleeping on mattresses in the corridors. Hygiene was so poor that the prison suffered a Typhoid epidemic. The prison shockingly continued to run in this state for another 20 years, in which time guards were unable to control and discipline the inmates and wings once again became mixed. It was then decided that another building would be constructed.


From what I can gather, it wasn't until 1906 that the new block was completed. They specifically had architects design the building to let in as much natural light as possible hence the glass pitched ceilings and huge auditorium in the centre to try and reduce running costs. On 1st September, the new block received it's first inmates.

The new block ran very well, with improved facilities and segregation of inmates with a single cell each, population could be controlled and monitored in a streamlined fashion. Between 1940 and 1944, the prison was subject to a number of bombings with severe damage to the buildings.


The Germans had already decided in the First World War to lock up the hostages and took over the prison. The French remained in wing A whilst wings C and D became administered by the Germans. In the German section, the women were found to fit into 50 cells of wing C, however, the "terrorists" occupied part of the 129 cells in wing D. In the French section, women were housed in the Western District F, the wing of the administration building. From the end of May, 1941, there was a total seal between the German and French parts: the French retained the main door while the Germans broke through access with a heavy wooden door on the north face of the wall . From June 1940, the jail served as a hub to deportation. The massive influx of prisoners in July and especially in August 1944 increased the population to around 1,300 with 7 or 8 inmates to a single 9m squared cell.


In 1946, reconstruction began on the prison but wasn't completed until 1960 where it re-opened again. Then in 1974, the prison was converted into a young offenders institute for offenders under 30 years of age.

At 2pm, Thursday, July 25, 1974 sixty prisoners refused to return to their cells. They spread through the establishment because they'd taken the supervisors hostage and stolen their keys. They opened the cell doors and then set fire to their classmates, the cinema, the surgery and laundrette. Fifteen of them took to the roof setting fires and also in the various workshops (blacksmith, auto mechanics, electricity, etc..).


Upon arrival, a hundred firefighters attacked the fire only from the courtyard of the facility because of the high protective railings. It took 16 hours, more than eighty CRS to storm the building, preceded by a barrage of tear gas. Fifteen minutes later, the roofs are emptied of their occupants leaving room for fire fighters.

In 2006, The detention center (former Central House) changed to an institution for convicted males, between 350 and 370 prisoners, mostly aged 20 to 35 years. Sixty of them are foreigners. Most detainees are released within two years of their arrival at the facility. Only a tenth of them are releasable beyond 2010. The prison received both males and females until March 2005 for major or minor crimes. Since April 2, 2005, it was intended to accommodate only convicted adult males whose sentence or the remaining sentence is less than or equal to nineteen months.


In March 2010, closing the dilapidated prison was finally confirmed. Four months later, Interregional Prison Service presents its calendar. On paper, everything seemed simple. The site will be closed in August 2011 and demolished in the process. The unions are relieved: the administration assured them that the reconstruction project on-site will be among the priorities in 2015.
Three years later, little or nothing of these promises had survived. The prison had closed in September 2011, its demolition, and reconstruction now outdated and the prison now sits victim to vandals, graffiti "artists" and the weather.


I hope you found the history interesting as I painstakingly translated many different sources to give an overview of it's history. The place has certainly seen it's fair share of problems.

I hope you enjoy these pictures.















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28DL Member
28DL Member
Hello, my name is Cédric,
I'm making a teaser for an escape game room in Paris. the theme is prison and I'd like to use one of your photography just above. The number one.
Can you tell me what can I do to use this picture in my teaser movie ?
thank you.


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Hello, my name is Cédric,
I'm making a teaser for an escape game room in Paris. the theme is prison and I'd like to use one of your photography just above. The number one.
Can you tell me what can I do to use this picture in my teaser movie ?
thank you.
Please PM me