A look around HM Prison Shrewsbury / The Dana Prison | Quirks & Queries

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When you arrive in Shrewsbury as a visitor, it's rare you'll take the walk across the Dana Bridge towards the now closed HM Prison Shrewsbury. Instead, you'll walk around Pride Hill, taking in the highlights of the town such as Charles Darwin's heritage, the Castle, or you'll meander your way around the quaint shops, meanwhile a darker history ferments on the other side of the Railway tracks.


The prison is split into three different Wings: A, B & C. There are courtyards, and a sports hall. Also, a chapel.


Hangings, straight jackets...murder and insanity, this place saw it all back in the day. Inside the brick perimeter, the prison is actually quite large, with a capacity for over 350 inmates.






In the middle of the vicinity was a lone piece of a train track, which I later learned was linked to the now disused platform 8 in Shrewsbury Train Station, it was for transferring/moving about prisoners.

Two criminals to each uniform cell, Bored scribbles on frames directly above the lower bunks: names, places, dates, are the only distinguishing feature from cell to cell. Black mold is growing freely about the place, although 'free' is maybe the wrong word as it too is trapped in the confines of its cell.







The building is in quite good condition overall, and the electricity still works in some areas, despite the last safety check on the TV/kettle plugs etc being December 2012, four months prior to its closure in March 2013.

Ideally, I'd like to be able to walk up to an abandoned prison that isn't pay per entry, but with such exposure comes vandals so £15 per person just seems as though I'm paying for being able to see the history of a prison, as opposed to the history of the recent visitors.

The only downside were elements from Jailhouse Tours' other events being present. It was the only thing that really broke the illusion for me. It felt like you stepped back in time up until you were reminded about the presence of their Lockdown (Zombie Chase) events. It's a big place though so as soon as you came across present day elements, something old and mysterious would lull you back into exploration mode again.






In defence to the occasional A4 laminated sign, and cosmetic blood (these Zombie events do look interesting) the team did very well to keep out of your hair. If you didn't want a guided tour, they got that and just explained the leaflet, map and emergency alarm systems (in case you got lost) and left us to our film-making.

The video of the day explains the place much more clearly and I'd recommend giving it a watch, but even 1080p can't quite capture the solemn and eerie mood of this place...



Oh, and if you're interested in seeing the place yourself, check out Jailhouse Tours' website & facebook. It's future is still uncertain, so it's best to see the place whilst you still can.


That's all,
Beth

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1 comments

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