Each man kills the thing he loves …

It seems older/smaller/historic prisons are closing, and being replaced by huge modern facilities.  Today’s news tells of four closures, including the one immortalised in the Ballad.

So what happens to the sites, and indeed buildings?  Do they get redeveloped to become expensive apartments?  In a city like Reading I expect they’d have potential to stand out as one of the best addresses in town.

Posted on September 4, 2013, in uk. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Dartmoor Prison is slated for closure in due course, although probably not for another ten years due to the terms of its lease. It oozes history, having been built to house French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars. Other notable inmates included Eamon de Valera following the Irish uprising of 1916 and, more recently, Mad Axeman Mitchell, an associate of the Krays (I remember seeing the helicopter searches after he escaped in the mid 60s).

    Due to its age and construction, this jail is hideously expensive to maintain. As for future uses, no-one in their right mind would want to inhabit an expensive apartment in Princetown, one of Devon’s most deprived communities. Already the local MP is calling for a plan to redevelop the site (a bit premature, but then he’s better known for grandstanding rather than for doing anything useful – he is a barrister, after all!). Any such redevelopment could be expected to involve huge sums of public money which would be difficult to justify especially since, given the prison’s size, condition and location, there is no obvious, financially-sustainable end use. So I fear there are no easy answers to the long-term preservation of this important historical relic.

    Perhaps the rather affluent landlord of the prison, the Duchy of Cornwall (aka Prince Charles), could step in and give something back to the Dartmoor communities from whom he and his forebears have derived a great deal of wealth?

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