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UK Trip Day 4: July 17/14 Part 2

20 Aug

After exploring the castle I followed the oh so nicely placed maps that are all over the town to help out us silly tourists and popped in to the Gaol (prison). This was my first and main reason for going to Beaumaris, I studied prisons, prison systems, the judicial system etc in University and find it all amazingly interesting. Yes I know, I am a geek, whatev. ๐Ÿ˜›

The entrance.

The entrance.

I am ticked at myself because I have almost no pictures of the gaol, the reason for this is because I was so absorbed in what I was seeing and learning I completely forgot about my camera lol They provide you with a headset so you learn all about what you are seeing and it was recorded in an interesting way. Instead of a narrator saying something along the lines of “Room A was a blah blah blah” the entire thing was recorded from the point of view of one of the prisoners, there were only 2 prisoners executed there while the prison was in use and the recording was done from the point of view of one of those men, sorry but I can’t recall his name right now. At first it bugged me because of the style, I didn’t really want to be hearing some guy, who is pretending to be some other guy, talk about his memories of this room or that room but by the end it grew on me.

There is an outdoor part to the tour that was closed while I was there due to it being mating season for the birds. Yup, you read that right. Some birds decided to take over one of the outside ares of the gaol and because it is mating season the people in charge opted to close off that area to humans so the birds weren’t disturbed. I found that a little odd, but I like that they take care of the wild animals like that.

Some random things I learned during the tour:

– they believed in work as punishment so depending which time period it was, and what your crime was, and what your level of punishment was you could find yourself (a) taking apart pieces of rope in a room with other people that you were not allowed to speak with (b) having a piece of machinery in your cell that you have to rotate a certain amount of times per day (c) walk on a machine that is like an old school stairmaster – this last one was outside (in an area where birds were not mating so I got to see it) this punishment was reserved for men only and they worked in teams, there would be a couple teams and they would rotate 15 minutes stepping at a time. There were other punishments, these are just the ones that stuck in my head the most lol

This is the machine in the cell, the person would turn that handle over and over and over every day.

This is the machine in the cell, the person would turn that handle over and over and over every day – and it did nothing!

Their stairmaster

Their stairmaster

– if a woman had a baby they were still expected to work so the babies were put in cribs in a room above the women’s workroom and there was a slit in the floor/ceiling so the women could poke a stick through the slit to rock the cradles.

The crib

The crib, if you look close you can see the slit in the floor underneath it.

– if a prisoner died while in the prison the prison had to pay for the burial so if someone was very sick and likely to die they would get released so they didn’t die while on the prison books

– the drunkard’s cell was placed as far away from the guy running the prison as possible so he wouldn’t be disturbed. The bed in that room had a bit of a higher edge to it so the person wouldn’t fall out lol

The drunkard's cell

The drunkard’s cell

– work was divided based on gender, some women would work in the laundry room (pictured below), others worked with the food (cooking, serving, cleaning up) or taking apart cotton or ropes etc. Men did more of the manual labour, like the stairmaster, the turning of the handle on the machine, building new sections of the prison etc. Gotta say, generally I don’t like things being divided based on gender but I totally prefer the sound of the women’s jobs lol

Laundry room - female prisoners worked here.

Laundry room – female prisoners worked here.

– the prison kept very detailed records of inmates weight and physical condition, because most people who were in there were poor, despite the labour they had to do on a daily basis most ended up maintaining or gaining weight because of the better diet they had while in prison

One of the hallways.

One of the hallways.

Another hall.

Another hall.

Upstairs hall.

Upstairs hall.

One of the stairwells, most weren't so fancy looking.

One of the stairwells, most weren’t so fancy looking.

A quick fyi if you are going there, the gift shop is practically non-existent and nothing in there is a memento type item of the gaol, not even a postcard with a picture of the gaol on it! The people working at the front were very friendly and helpful. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you are going to go to both the gaol and the court house you can buy a combo ticket at either location that gets you a discount, yay discounts! But even without that the entrance fees are not that much, in my humble and cash strapped opinion.

To get additional information about the gaol check out

http://www.attractionsnorthwales.co.uk/attractions/beaumaris-gaol-and-courtroom

It isn’t a great website, someone really needs to make a website dedicated to the gaol cause you can find barely anything about it online, or at least I couldn’t. They are not open Fridays, oh! and the above website says there are live performances July-September based on the history of the gaol, I was there in that time frame and there were no live performances, a bit disappointing since I was looking forward to that but it is still a fascinating place with or without a show. ๐Ÿ™‚

Eesh, looks like my day at Beaumaris is going to take up more than two posts! Crazeeeee! See ya in part 3! ๐Ÿ™‚

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