Private Coach Group Visit May 2022

With the weather finally starting to cheer up as we head into summer, the first group of guests we welcomed on a private tour this month were the Gay Classic Car Group (GCCG). We had 15 beautiful classic cars parked in the prison grounds for the afternoon; these cars had been driven to us from Exeter in the glorious sunshine, so certainly a fabulous start for our guests.

The group fully enjoyed their tour. They were fascinated by the burial site and original Gate lodge, asking what kind of work the prisoners would have done while being held here and how many escapes had taken place throughout the prison’s history.

To top off the afternoon, they tucked into tea and cake, which was waiting for them at the end of the tour. We received some lovely feedback, with mention of how intriguing the prison is.

On the 16th May, we welcomed 36 members of Andover’s U3A. They were fascinated by the prison and certainly challenged our Tour Guide with many questions. Some questions that we haven’t been asked before were, “Did they raise a flag after executions?” and “When was the prisoner cell alert system installed?”

They also loved our information boards, wishing they had time enough to stop and read them all; that being said, they all agreed that while the prison is a very interesting place, it is perhaps not for them as a long-term arrangement! They thought the tour was brilliant and even thanked our guide with a round of applause at the end, to show their appreciation.

Our final private groups of the month both arrived on the same day: Frenchay W.I. and Compton Dundun W.I. They couldn’t have picked a lovelier day for it! Both groups opted for refreshments to accompany their tour, which were thoroughly enjoyed. They were enthralled and fascinated by the history represented by the prison and were full of questions.

Frenchay W.I had a full debate about the death sentence and whether it was right or wrong. They didn’t reach a conclusion though, as they could all understand the arguments for and against. Compton Dundon W.I. felt that the treadwheel should be reinstated as it would solve our current energy crisis. They also asked if the stocks and pillories that we have on display at the entrance were originals.

After their visits to us, we received some lovely feedback from both groups:

“Everyone enjoyed their day out and were so impressed by Monica’s knowledge. We would thoroughly recommend the tour to others.” Frenchay W.I.:

“Everyone enjoyed their experience. My daughter-in-law has already booked a visit for Father’s Day, after I expressed how great and interesting the visit was.” Compton Dundon W.I tour organiser

As we continue to head into the warmer months, we look forward to guiding more groups around in the summer sunshine!