The Re-Opening of Shepton Mallet Prison
I can’t believe it’s happened!
I don’t always deal with stress particularly well, and end up going round in circles with 101 things to do but I had one clear goal in my head on Friday and that was to make sure EVERYTHING was ready for the grand re-opening on Saturday.
Members of the team and a couple of our lovely regulars arrived at the prison gates in preparation for the hard day’s work that would follow.
With floor mopping, cell painting, toilet cleaning and social distance floor plans to be completed the team slogged to ensure that Saturday would run like clockwork. I can’t thank our, now known as, Prison Prep Experts (PPE), enough for all of the help they have given, not only on Friday, but in the lead up to our re-opening.
It’s amazing to think that since 1625 the prison has only shut 3 times, once in 1930 when the prison population was exceptionally low. It re-opened as a Military Prison and the British Artefacts started to arrive in 1938. The second time was when the prison was decommissioned and most recently in March this year as a result of Covid-19. Not bad for a 400 year old building.
As the months have passed, my PPE team and I have been keeping busy improving the site, and I am so excited to finally be able to show off the newly redecorated cells, (for those brave enough to stay overnight) the new interpretation spaces and during this unusual time, introduce a one way system.
Friday night ended on a high as I celebrated with a Chinese take-away and a hazy mind after a glass of wine (or two).
Saturday was like starting a new business. We were grateful to see that the public had put their trust in us and have confidence that their visit would not only be brilliant but that they would also be safe.
The feedback given was terrific and I thank those that took the time to chat to Felicity and I and reiterated the success of their visit and the one way route. Like anything a little adjustment here and there proved necessary, but I am pretty sure that when you visit, you will be equally as excited with a peace of mind for your safety.
I am pleased to say that whilst I await your arrival, I am going to grab a cup of tea and decide which area of the prison we will work on next.
Until the next time…
Charlie, Site Manager at Shepton Mallet Prison