If history is your thing, then Bodmin is absolutely one of the places that should be at the top of your list for a visit. Obviously there is Bodmin Jail – we were hardly going to not mention that, but there is so much more to keep you coming back to Bodmin.
As well as Bodmin Jail which is clearly steeped in history and has so many tales to tell, when you’re in the Bodmin area you really can do a bit of travelling back in time.
There are other locations that can complement your Jail visit, from the local National Trust run Lanhydrock with its beautiful location and house to the Bodmin and Wenford Railway. These places both can make you feel as if you have stepped in to another era, just like you do at the Jail.
There is a free Museum in Bodmin itself, the Bodmin Town Museum and a Regimental Museum if military history is your thing. Obviously Bodmin Jail itself has the naval wing to interest you if so.
Beautiful houses such as Lanhydrock and also Pencarrow House and Gardens – a mostly Georgian mansion still owned and lived in by the same family who settled there in the 1500’s – show a direct contrast to the conditions at Bodmin Jail.
At Lanhydrock, there are beautiful rooms for children including several toys. This works as a striking contrast to Bodmin Jail, where children were sometimes incarcerated for stealing. Stealing food to help to keep themselves and their families alive. When you walk through Lanhydrock, there are huge kitchens with food everywhere.
I can think of no better way to visually show and teach children about class differences, poverty, law and order and possibly even being that little extra bit grateful for their own lifestyle, than to show children both the grandeur of Pencarrow or Lanhydrock, and then show them Bodmin Jail.
Not all of history is happy and positive, and it is important that this is taught as well as the more glamorous and beautiful parts of our history. Every event in history no matter how good or bad, has played a part in the world that we live in today and I really do think it is important that there is a balance in the teaching of history.
The stark reality of Bodmin Jail and the pictures on the walls of some of its youngest criminals, really will help to bring history alive for not only children but adults too. Reading about history and experiencing it are very different things.
Walking around historical sites, where you can touch, smell and just feel the atmosphere of what it must have been like for people in the past is much more effective and likely to stick in the mind. Bodmin has such a historical heart, where so many different eras are covered.
So why not come to Bodmin and do a spot of your own time travelling?