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Shrewsbury Prison Ghost Hunts & Sleepovers

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Shrewsbury Prison (The Dana)
Shrewsbury, Shropshire

OVERVIEW

Hangings, Death and Ghosts. Those are three words to describe Shrewsbury Prison. The Prison is a Grade II listed building that dates back to 1793, replacing the previous Medieval Dana Gaol. Hundreds of men, women and children were imprisoned here, with numerous public and private executions that took place. As many as 5 people were hanged each day at one point, with the building being the most haunted location in Shrewsbury. Dark shadow figures, poltergeist activity and a ghostly Grey Lady are all reported here. Dare you investigate and sleepover inside the sinister Shrewsbury Prison?

 

HISTORY

Shrewsbury Prison (HMP Shrewsbury) was originally built and completed in 1793. Prior to this, a medieval prison was located on this site called 'Dana Gaol'. In 1788, prison architect John Howard visited Shrewsbury to inspect the new prison design plans. He was dissatisfied with some of the design choices like the size of the interior courts. After many redesigns, the Georgian Prison was constructed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1793. At the front of the Gatehouse lies a bust of John Howard. While the remains of the original Georgian Prison are preserved underneath the current site, the Victorian construction was built in 1877.

Over the next seven decades, Shrewsbury Prison was a place of public executions, drawing in large crowds of people. People even used to arrive early on the execution days to ensure they would get the best view possible, with some even bring posters as souvenirs. The last public hanging at Shrewsbury Prison took place on the 9th April 1868, when 35 year old John Mapp was executed for murdering a 9 year old girl. The misfortune for John was that his execution happened a month before public hanging were abolished.

Women were imprisoned here at Shrewsbury Prison until 1922.

Between 1902 and 1961, eight hangings were carried out at Shrewsbury Prison, including 34 year old Richard Wigley on the 18th March 1902, 57 year old William Griffiths on the 24th July 1923, and 43 year old Harry Huxley on the 8th July 1952. All executions were carried out at 8:00am exactly. The last execution to take place altogether at the Prison happened on the 9th February 1961, when 21 year old George Riley was hanged for the murder of a 62 year old woman. There was a lot of troubled controversy surrounding George's death, as many people believed he didn't actually commit the murder, but in fact was framed and blamed for the murder. While we will never know the full truth behind this, it might explain why his apparition is seen throughout A-Wing.

During a period of redevelopment in 1972, the remains of 10 prisoners who were executed at Shrewsbury Prison were exhumed. 9 of the 10 prisoners were unrecognisable, and sadly were cremated shortly after being dug up. The last prisoner was identified by relatives as George Riley, and his remains were handed over to them.

In the mid-late 2000s, there was a number of enquiries and concerns raised about Shrewsbury Prison. In September 2004, George Stevenson MP called for an enquiry into the number of suicides that occurred