HISTORY OF THE PRISON
The Friends of The Cotswolds
The Friends of the Cotswolds is a local charity with a mission to protect and enhance the region's unique environment, heritage, and culture. Having owned the Old Prison since 2013, the Friends fundraised to secure the building's future for locals and visitors alike. In 2018 works began to transform the site's structure with the old (and rather cold) glazed areas being replaced with warm, fit for purpose glazing. Crucial repair works to the Grade II* listed building were also undertaken as well as a brand new kitchen, servery, and washrooms added.
But the improvements to the Old Prison are not yet complete. The charity continues to invest in the heritage site, with a new raft of fundraising already underway to improve the museum interpretation throughout the site.
19th Century House of Correction
A visit to the Old Prison offers you a unique glimpse into life in a 19th-century house of correction. Built-in the 1790s, this was once a fine example of a model prison used to inspire better care and rehabilitation of prisoners throughout Britain and further afield. It even served as a blueprint for London’s Pentonville Prison.
Over the years the building has seen many changes of use including the addition of a police station, petty sessional court and tramp station. You can still see one of the original cell blocks built-in 1844 along with the historic courtroom which was in use right up until the 1970s.
Admission to the Old cells and courtroom is free.
Lloyd Baker, Rural Life Collection
Housed within the grounds of The Old Prison is the unique Lloyd Baker Rural Life Collection – a wonderful display of historic agricultural and farming machinery from the era of ‘horse power.’
Put together by Miss Olive Lloyd-Baker at her family home at Hardwick Court, this fascinating and nationally important personal collection of farm wagons, carts and implements along with two shepherds huts, will take you back in time to the days when the land was toiled by man and beast and tractors hadn’t yet been invented. At the heart of the collection are 23 farm wagons and carts, with regional and national significance as locally-distinctive examples.
Upon Olive’s death in 1975 the ownership of the “Lloyd-Baker Collection” was transferred to Cotswold District Council. Since the 1980’s further additions to the collection have been made by generous donations from local people. The Friends of the Cotswolds houses the collection on behalf of the of Council and ensures that it is available for the public to see.