Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Places: Bodmin Jail

Bodmin Jail
Situated in the town of Bodmin in Cornwall, Bodmin Jail was a working Civil and Naval prison from its opening in 1779 until its closure in 1927. The buildings fell into disrepair and dereliction for many years, until it was bought by its current owners in 2004. Since then, the Jail has been undergoing extensive renovations and currently houses a 6 level museum of sorts, which allows visitors to learn about the crimes, their perpetrators - from delinquent children to serial murderers - and the punishments given to them during the prison's history. 

Victim and murderer
Whilst that might sound a little bit boring, it's actually pretty interesting - entertaining even - and many of the cells now contain models / mannequins and scenery depicting both the crimes committed and the punishments exacted, complete with explanation signs on the walls next to them. It's not a fairground haunted house, by any means, but the dark, strangely lit models and passageways coupled with the echoing sounds, low / strangely-angled ceilings and shiver-inducing temperatures give the museum portion of the building a somewhat eerie atmosphere. 

 A priest and nun with a corpse in a coffin
In addition to the museum, Bodmin Jail is said to have quite a lot of paranormal activity and also hosts ghost walks a few times a month. There were certaintly lots of deaths and executions on the grounds including a prisoner that committed suicide outside the prison gates in 1839 and the double hanging of brothers for murder, which approximately 25,000 people attended in 1840 (as a source of entertainment). The execution pit used for hanging still exists and the Jail website invites visitors to:
"Come and see the only working execution pit in the UK. Discovered during renovation works in 2005, the pit has now been restored to its’ full working order, with the able assistance of Gary Ewart, one of the UK’s leading authorities on hanging."
A hanging exhibit
In addition to the museum area and execution pit, there are also grounds (temporarily closed for renovations at the time of writing), stables artifacts, a film room and a bar / restaurant. The bar had a rather unusual, fake jackalope head adorning one of its shelves (pictured below), which along with other such amusing eccentricities like the mannequin hands in the corner of the jail ceiling (pictured after cut) and the outside door with the address "001 Cemetery Lane" (pictured after cut), make the site more fun to explore.

'Jackalope' in the bar
For more information about opening times, entry fees (for the museum) and other details you can visit the Bodmin Jail websites:
More photos after the cut below↓:


  1. Wow, that's changed a lot since I last went there (only a couple of rooms had figures in them; I think they were doing a lot of renovations then, too) Love that they've populated some more of the cells!
    Though it's quite a foreboding building, it's also quite beautiful, I think!

    1. Yeah, I agree with you - it is beautiful! The whole area is in fact *.* There were still some empty cells full of random stored items, but most of them had scenes set up. Good suggestion, thank you! ^^


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