The Old Prison
A little history
Over its 230 plus year history, the Old Prison has adapted and changed reflecting shifts in society. We see ourselves as custodians of the building and its story; aiming to ensure it is looked after and open to the public to learn and enjoy.
Prison Reform in the late 1700s
In the late 1700s, jails in prison were in an awful state. Jailers were not salaried but lived off fees paid by prisoners for food, bedding, and other facilities. This system meant poorer prisoners lived in terrible conditions. Many jailers demanded payment before prisoners were released meaning that some stayed in jail even if they were innocent or had served their sentences.
Philanthropist and social reformer, John Howard (1726 – 1790) told the world what English prisons were like, and moved the minds of men to do something about them with the introction of two parliamentary acts in 1774 – one abolishing jailers fees, the second enforcing improvements in the system leading to better prisoner health. He went on to write an important book “The State of Prisons in England and Wales…..and an Account of Some Foreign Prisons”.
In Gloucestershire, George Onesiphorus Paul, following on from the research of John Howard, persuaded the local county leaders to build a set of new prisons including the “House of Correction at Northleach” (the Old Prison). First to be rebuilt was the gaol at Gloucester, with the old building and what remained of Gloucester Castle being replaced with a state-of-the-art prison. Once complete, four further prisons were built in the county at Northleach, Horsely, Littledean and Lawford’s Gate (now Bristol). This rebuilding project was a model copied throughout the country.
PUT HERE ABOUT WHAT NEW PRISONS WERE LIKE. AND SPECIFICALLY NORTHLEACH. WHO WAS SENTENCED HERE ETC IE WHAT CRIMES. WOMEN? CHILDREN?
The New Old Prison
About the plans once have them. Include pictures. i.e. galleries, cafe, cellar
Bringing History to Life at the Old Prison
About interpretation in Court Room and Cellars
Counter for funds raised? Diagram form. Update monthly? i.e. achievement vs. target. And link to donation/membership.
The Cotswold Craft Apprenticeship Scheme
Protecting the heritage of the Cotswolds is a natural step for us. Our research has shown a strong need for rural heritage-skills apprenticeships here in the Cotswolds. With significant gaps in the heritage skills sector, and a real need for these skills to maintain the heritage of the area, we are working to bridge this gap. What’s more, when delivered, this project will also provide the opportunity for local people to gain both qualifications and employment.
To deliver this project we hope to be partnering with a local college to jointly provide a full apprenticeship scheme for a number of different rural heritage-skills. Fund raising is well underway and we are now investigating how best to deliver this key project and provide the best apprenticeship schemes possible.
Find out about how we’ve helped local groups and charities as a grant giver here.