Shrewsbury Prison (Permission Visit)

There has been a prison on the site since 1793, the original building being constructed by Thomas Telford to plans by Shrewsbury architect John Hiram Haycock; the present prison building was constructed in 1877. The prison took female convicts until 1922.

Between 1902 and 1961 the following seven people were executed by hanging within the walls of HMP Shrewsbury for the crime of murder:-
Richard Wigley aged 34 yrs on Tuesday, 18 March 1902 (Mary Ellen Bowen [girlfriend])
William Griffiths aged 57 yrs on Tuesday, 24 July 1923 (Catherine Hughes [mother])
Frank Griffin aged 40 yrs on Thursday, 4 January 1951 (Jane Edge)
Harry Huxley aged 43 yrs on Tuesday, 8 July 1952 (Ada Royce [girlfriend])
Donald Neil Simon aged 32 years on Thursday, 23 October 1952 (Eunice Simon [estranged wife] & Victor Brades [her lover])
Desmond Donald Hooper aged 27 yrs on Tuesday, 26 January 1954 (Betty Smith)
George Riley aged 21 yrs on Thursday, 9 February 1961 (Adeline Mary Smith [neighbour])

The names of their victims appear in parentheses. In almost every case the murder victim was female. Executions took place at 8.00 am. All executed prisoners were buried in unmarked graves inside the prison, as was customary. The four executions which took place during the 1950s were all conducted by Albert Pierrepoint and his assistant. The last execution in 1961 was conducted by Harry Allen and his assistant. In February 2014 the Ministry of Justice stated that the remains of ten executed prisoners were exhumed from the prison in 1972, cremated at a local crematorium and the ashes scattered there.

In September 2004, Member of Parliament George Stevenson, called for an enquiry into the amount of suicides which had occurred at Shrewsbury Prison. This came after 3 inmates had hanged themselves at the jail in 2 weeks.

A report in 2005 named Shrewsbury prison as the most overcrowded in England and Wales. In August 2008 a further report stated that the prison had 178 places in use but held 326 inmates - an overcrowding rate of 183%. A report in June 2012 by the Prison Reform Trust awarded Shrewsbury second place in England and Wales for overcrowding, holding 326 prisoners in space designed for 170 men, a figure exceeded only by Kennet in Liverpool at the time. In 1934, the prison had co tained the larger number of 204 cells.

Before closure, Shrewsbury was a Category B/C prison accepting adult males from the local courts in its catchment area. Accommodation at the prison consisted of double occupancy cells in mostly Victorian buildings. The prison offered education and workshops to inmates. A Listener Scheme was also available to prisoners at risk of suicide or self-harm.

In January 2013, it was announced that the prison was scheduled for closure. The last inmates were transferred from Shrewsbury to other prisons on 27 February 2013, ahead of its closure in March. The Grade II listed former prison building was sold by the Ministry of Justice to developers, the Trevor Osborne Property Group, in 2014, and is expected to be converted into homes and offices. In April 2015, it was revealed proposals included accommodation for around 200 students of the recently created University Centre Shrewsbury.

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