Jail Break for Bodmin!
Bodmin Jail, one of Cornwall’s most loved historical attractions and Cornwall’s former County Gaol, announces today that it will close its doors for a 6-month period from 4th November 2019 to allow for construction to finish on the on-going £40million re-development and preservation project that is set to restore this important heritage asset to its former glory.
The current visitor attraction will close its doors from Monday 4th November, with the restaurant and gift shop remaining open for diners, pre-booked events, and weddings only, until 1st December 2019. During the closure, all special events, including After Dark Paranormal Events, will be suspended, returning with a new lease of life in May 2020.
On Sunday 3rd November the Jail invites locals and enthusiasts to join them for a Charity Open Day with FREE entry for all to raise funds for the Jail’s chosen charity, Cornwall Hospice Care. Visitors will get a chance to say goodbye to the current attraction, as well as the opportunity to own a piece of Bodmin Jail by bidding on selected memorabilia picked from the original jail and attraction in a silent auction, with all money raised going to the charity that runs two adult hospices in Cornwall. The auction, which opens online on www.jumblebee.co.uk at 9am on Monday 21st October, gives anyone interested in owning a real piece of Bodmin Jail a chance to bid.
The brand new £8.5million immersive visitor experience, which is due to re-open on the 1st May 2020, has been developed by international visitor attraction experts Sarner and sees the introduction of the new ‘Dark Walk’ experience and a complete re-design of the existing attraction spaces. Four linked experiences will take guests on a journey through an interactive, educational, fun and punishing depiction of life in the 18th and 19th century and provide them with entertaining and informative history of the region, the jail and its former inmates. Ghostly voices from Cornwall’s murky past will appear alongside highway robbers, smugglers, miners and tales of the Bodmin Beast, using the latest technology and theatrical effects to allow visitors to experience the life and death within the prison walls and Cornwall as a whole.
The 4-star boutique hotel, which is due to open in late 2020, is being built within the walls of the Grade II listed building, retaining original features including bars on the windows, original brickwork and the original guard tower. It has been designed with a view to retain and enhance the unique atmosphere and sense of history that exists in the ruins of the jail. The old cells are being used to create 70 spacious bedrooms with three cells to a room in the original civil, naval and women’s wings, alongside an exciting new restaurant concept.
Martin Lyall, General Manager at Bodmin Jail, says:
‘This is an incredibly exciting time for Bodmin Jail and Cornwall as a whole, with this being the biggest current private investment South of Bristol. Closing the attraction is an operational necessity at this point, in order to complete the construction work for our brand new, visitor attraction and historic hotel. We look forward to opening our doors in May next year as one of the top attractions in the region.’
The senior team at Bodmin Jail will all remain on site during the construction period, developing exciting and new experiences for visitors next year. It is estimated that the new visitor attraction and hotel will generate around 50 new jobs in the local area once it opens fully.
All images copyright ©Twelve Architects – 2019
Posted: 8th October 2019 By: Tara Jones
Bats are incredible creatures. Below are some fun bat facts so you can learn more about these interesting animals!
- Bats are flying mammals.
- While others can glide, bats are the only mammals capable of continued flight.
- There are over 1000 different bat species.
- Bats are nocturnal (active at night).
Brown Long-Eared Bat
- Bats ‘see’ in the dark using a special skill called echolocation. Bats make noises and wait for the sound waves to bounce back off objects (an echo), if it doesn’t bounce back then they can safely fly forward. They can tell the distance of various objects by how quickly the sound waves bounce back to them.
- Most bats feed on insects, while others eat fruit, fish or even blood!
- There are 3 species of vampire bats which feed solely on blood.
- Some bats live by themselves while others live in caves with thousands of other bats.
- Bats can live for over 20 years.
- Pteropus bats (also known as flying foxes or fruit bats) are the largest in the world.
- Their wing is very much like a human arm and hand, except it has a thin membrane of skin (called the patagium) extending between the “hand” and the body, and between each finger bone. Bats can move the wing like a hand, essentially “swimming” through the air.
Posted: 28th August 2019 By: Tara Jones
Here at Bodmin Jail we are passionate about helping the environment in any way we can!
We have dedicated recycling bins and we use eco-friendly cleaning products throughout the whole business and we are proud to be able to say that we use the Bidfood Pro Green Environmental Cleaning Range.
Pro Green cleaning products are filled with environmentally friendly ingredients and are designed to protect human health and not damage the environment and water courses. We use them to limit our influence on global pollution and environment degradation.
BidFood Pro Green Environmental Cleaning Range facts:
- Biodegradable to European standards
- They use raw materials mainly from renewable resources including vegetable derived surfactants and betaines (the soap like compound that grabs at the dirt)
- Spray flask packaging contains recycled plastic
- Reusable and recyclable triggers and sprays
- Septic tank safe
- Natural fruit fragrances
- Phosphate free
- No unnecessary ingredients and no harmful additives
- Not tested on animals
- Recyclable and refillable packaging
Both Bodmin Jail and Bidfood promote the use of concentrated products, and refillable flasks and containers, to diminish the impact on the environment and help reduce landfill. Also, by purchasing our cleaning products at the same time as our food order we are cutting down on deliveries to the Jail therefore saving paper, fuel and time.
The packaging is all designed to ease recycling, for example using recyclable plastic labels instead of paper, no separation needed. Most of their cartons use recycled board, and they stack pallets to maximise delivery capacity and cut down on the number of deliveries required.
All these little things have a big impact on our environment and the world we live in today, and for our future generations. Helping the environment has been growing in importance lately and it is up to big companies to set the way; by reducing traffic on the road and fuel use, by using recyclable and reusable containers and packaging, by using products that are less harsh and more sustainable we are doing our bit.
“There is a very close synergy between the sustainability ethos of Bidfood and Bodmin Jail. We are both passionate about taking care of our environment and the installation of Pro Green Chemical Systems throughout the Jail strengthens the relationship. We already supply the Jail with compostable packaging and paper straws. These state of the art Cleaning Systems are a new innovation and are just as effective as non-sustainable products. As the Account Manager looking after Bodmin Jail for Bidfood I look forward to introducing our next environmentally friendly range.”
Andy Perryman, Account Manager, Bidfood
Posted: 21st August 2019 By: Tara Jones
There are many stories and tales regarding Jackdaws and their mysteries. The Jackdaws of Bodmin Jail have their own story and history.
According to legend the first Jackdaws arrived at the jail in November of 1846 after their owner was incarcerated and included them in her crimes.
As the legend goes Rose Wright was born in Luxulyan (a small village located on the edge of Bodmin Moor) sometime in early 1811, she was known as a witch in her local community. For many years she was held with fear and respect within the village, she would make herbal remedies and “potions” for people to help with their ailments. As the story goes, one year there was a drought and the villagers blamed Rose and her witchcraft – where once there was fear there was now hatred and anger. They shunned her, and she now had no means to make money to provide for herself.
Image taken from flickr.com
Rose lived near the woods, and this was where she gathered her herbs for her remedies. She became lonely, ignored by the village people she had once counted as friends, and over time she reportedly made friends with the animals living within the woods. Among these were the Jackdaws: an intelligent bird which has always had empathy and affinity towards humans. They also have a love of shiny things, like their larger cousins the Magpies. Unlike Magpies, however, Jackdaws are quick and nimble, and their size means they can get in out of tighter spaces and create mischief!
Allegedly, Rose became aware of this by pure chance as one of her feathered friends brought her a gift of a few shillings it had stolen from one of the villagers. This gave Rose an idea: she could use the Jackdaws to steal money/items for her, she was desperate and did not want to starve. She spent some time training her pets, they learned quickly, so soon she had amassed a small haul of jewellery and coins. Obviously, this did not go unnoticed by the villagers of Luxulyan and they demanded the local gentry and law deal with Rose.
Accounts say that Rose was arrested and incarcerated at the jail after her conviction on November 19th, 1846, she was 36 years old. Rose was unfortunately ill upon arrival at the prison due to malnutrition and dysentery caused by her poor diet after her shunning. The Jackdaws came with her, and stories are told of them being mischievous; they would harass the guards and other prisoners -making noises throughout the night and being a nuisance within the Jail walls. They would try to steal the cell keys from the guards, but they were unsuccessful – Rose died in her damp & grimy cell on January 13th 1847, 2 months after her incarceration, weak and frail from her long-standing illness.
The Jackdaws did not leave after her death – the story tells that Rose put a curse upon the jail and the county town of Bodmin ‘should the last Jackdaw be born at Bodmin Gaol, so the spirits of the condemned shall rise and bring misfortune and chaos to all that reside within’.
Posted: 31st July 2019 By: Tara Jones
We have been added to Super Dry’s “Summer Or Nothing” page for things to do in the South West of England! We are honoured to be recognised by such a well-established brand as Superdry.
The “Summer Or Nothing” to do site is a tool you can use to plan your holiday. It covers other local attractions and allows you to see what events are on, by using the yellow scroll bar that changes the time of day and highlights which attractions are open. This tool is a great feature and will benefit anyone planning their holiday to Cornwall or anywhere else in the UK.
Superdry displays events and activities that are suitable for a variety of age groups and interests. From a maze in Gloucester, The Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle and the well-known summer festival in Cornwall, Boardmasters, to many other attractions around the nation.
The section they have written about Bodmin Jail talks about the paranormal events that have occurred in the past, “people hearing crying in the dark, seeing shadows cast from no one and even having their hair pulled by what seemed to be nothing…”
Summer Or Nothing talks about our After Dark tours, Scary Cinema Night evenings and our Quiz and Curry Night that occurs on the last Sunday of every month!
You can check out what was written about us here.
Posted: 10th July 2019 By: Yiian Thomas
Cornwall Hospice Care revealed as Bodmin Jail’s Charity of the Year
It’s been revealed that Cornish healthcare charity Cornwall Hospice Care has been chosen as Bodmin Jail’s Charity of the Year. The 12 month corporate project will run from Monday 1st April 2019, until the end of March 2020, and will help raise the vital funds needed to provide specialist care to terminally ill patients across the county.
Oli Hoare is Head of Fundraising for the charity; “We’re delighted to have been chosen by the team at Bodmin Jail, a superb Cornish attraction based in the heart of the county we serve. Corporate support such as this ensures we can continue to provide specialist care to our patients and their families and carers at no charge to them. We’re now busy planning a year of fundraising activities. We strive to offer new and different events to our supporters and Bodmin Jail provides us with a totally different and unique venue. New for this year for instance, will be a Murder Mystery Evening in June, imagine that!”
Martin Lyall, the General Manager from Bodmin Jail; “We are very pleased to have chosen Cornwall Hospice Care as our Charity of the Year in our first venture of having a chosen charity. We look forward to working together to raise awareness and much needed funds for this valuable cause, in what is a significant year for the jail with our 38 million pound investment.”
News of fundraising events will feature on the Bodmin Jail and Cornwall Hospice Care websites and on their respective social media channels.
About Cornwall Hospice Care
Cornwall Hospice Care is a 24/7 Cornish Healthcare charity that provides specialist care for people with terminal illnesses. Our nursing teams support patients and their families, carers and friends at Mount Edgcumbe Hospice in St Austell, St Julia’s Hospice in Hayle and in Cornwall’s hospitals, care homes and in the community with our new Neighbourhood Hubs and Open Houses. The charity also runs a 24 hour advice line for other healthcare professionals. It costs over £5.15 million to provide the specialist care we offer to our in and out patients. Only 19% of this is funded through a contribution from Cornwall’s NHS Commissioners. The rest is raised thanks to the people of Cornwall who leave us legacies, support fundraising events, play our lottery and donate to, and buy in, our 32 shops.
Charity number: 1113140
Posted: 29th March 2019 By: Tara Jones
In a nutshell
A former jail on the edge of the town, built in 1779 by prisoners of war. Inside the gloomy and imposing granite building there are six floors of chilly cells, life-size models of inmates, and grim tales of crimes and punishment. Thanks to its grisly past, it claims to be one of the most haunted attractions in the UK, with a resident medium and a cast of ghosts. In short, it’s the perfect attraction if you want to scare your children with some real-life horror stories. The jail is in the midst of a £30m development that will add a 63-bedroom
hotel within the two original prison wings, and a new £8.5m attraction and education centre.
As a jail famous for its long-drop execution pit and replete with nasty detail, it’s low on fun facts. But one of the more innocent information boards describes the 43rd rule, which stated that “all prisoners, except debtors, should have a tepid bath once in every three months”.
Best thing about it
Depends how much you love gory details and sad stories. It gives a real insight into the squalid conditions and cruelty that prisoners, including children, faced – sometimes for minor misdemeanours like stealing honey.
What about lunch?
The usual suspects of jacket potato (£4.95), soup (£4.25) and sandwiches (from £4) are served in the Tea Room in the gift shop, which also serves “breakfast in jail” – with porridge (of course!) for £1.90, bacon or sausage baps (from £2.50) or a full-fry-up (£6.95). The Governor’s Hall is a full-service restaurant with a menu of classic British fare: slow-cooked mutton with an ox-cheek pie and celeriac puree (£10.50); jail-ale beerbattered fish and chips (£9.95); or vegetarian dishessuch as butternut squash risotto (£8.95).
Exit through the gift shop?
Yes, with a chance to pick up some pilchards or other Cornish delicacies: clotted cream fudge, sea salt, plus T-shirts in convict stripes, and “I braved Bodmin Jail” hoodies and tea towels.
Parking is available in the town centre. The jail is a 20-minute walk from Bodmin General station, which is on the Bodmin and Wenford heritage steam railway (you can combine the two attractions in one day). You will need a taxi if you travel from the mainline station, Bodmin Parkway (four miles away), where trains arrive from Penzance, Plymouth and Paddington.
Children under 10 should enjoy some aspects of the attraction, if not all of it.
9.30am-6pm. Restaurant noon-9pm.
Value for money
We rushed through the jail because my son (eight) and niece (seven) were a bit too young for it but it’s good value if you can take your time. Adult (16+) £10, over 65 £8.50, 5-15 years £7.50, family (two adults/two children) £32. After Dark tours (8.45pm-5am) cost £80 and include a three-course meal. Other events include scary film screenings and historical tours. It’s not wheelchair or pushchair-friendly.
7/10. It’s open to children of all ages and younger children will enjoy the ghost stories and discovering what prisoners ate (bread, gruel and sometimes scouse, a mutton stew), but in my opinion it’s better suited to older kids. We whisked the children past the more gruesome tales to avoid having to explain more serious crimes.
The Guardian original post
Posted: 9th January 2019 By: Tara Jones
We are delighted to announce that we have achieved a Silver award in the small attraction of the year category at last night’s Cornwall Tourism Awards . A big thank you to our entire team for helping us achieve this great accolade and to the judges for spending time behind bars.
Watch a short video of the Cornwall Tourism Awards 2018
Posted: 2nd November 2018 By: Tara Jones
Posted: 5th October 2018 By: Tara Jones
Bodmin Jail have been shortlisted!
Bodmin Jail have been shortlisted in the final three of the Small Attraction of the Year category, for the Cornwall Tourism Awards 2018/19.
We are absolutely delighted that are our hardworking Jail Team have pulled together to provide top-notch customer service and such great all-round experience for our visitors.
The Finalists be presented with their Gold, Silver, or Bronze Award, at the black-tie Cornwall Tourism Awards Ceremony in Truro Cathedral, on 1st November 2018.
We wish all the other finalists in their categories the best of luck on the night!
Posted: 3rd October 2018 By: Tara Jones