Commissioned artist for Bodmin Jail
The internationally renowned Devon artist, Becky Bettesworth, has been commissioned to create a very special, exclusive artwork for Bodmin Jail, which will only be available to purchase in the Gift Shop of the new Bodmin Jail Attraction launching Summer 2020.
Becky, whose recognisable prints draw inspiration from the classic railway posters of the 1930s, is well known both in the UK and internationally for bringing a modern and fresh look to some of the most exciting spots to visit in the country. The moody and imposing print of Bodmin Jail forms part of Becky’s collection of Cornwall’s landmarks, including St Michael’s Mount, Bude, Padstow and Watergate Bay.
Bodmin Jail, which was first opened in 1779 as Cornwall’s County Gaol, is in the middle of a £40million re-development that includes a brand new visitor attraction due to open Summer 2020. Becky’s artwork gives a new lease of life to the iconic building, giving visitors a chance to purchase an inspired and exclusive memory from their visit to the jail.
Posted: 1st April 2020 By: Tara Jones
MEET THE GM – MARTIN LYALL
Those of you who have visited Bodmin recently will have noticed the tall, yellow crane and scaffolding surrounding the town’s most historic and iconic building. Cornwall’s former county Gaol which originally opened in 1779, is currently in the middle of the largest private leisure development in the South West since the Eden Project; a £40 million investment that will result in a world class visitor attraction and 70-bedroom boutique hotel, both scheduled to open in 2020.
Behind the scaffolding, the Bodmin Jail team is busy getting the new attraction ready for the opening launch, led by general manager, Martin Lyall. Martin was appointed in December 2016 to help steer the business through the development, and he’s really had his hands full!
Martin Lyall – pictured on the right – presenting Cornwall Hospice Care with a fundraising auction cheque from Bodmin Jail
‘What I like most is being instrumental in managing the transformation of such an iconic building from start to finish,” Martin says when asked about what he loves about his job. “I work with an amazing group of people who are truly passionate about what they do, and this dedication is going to be very obvious once we open the new attraction.’
Bodmin Jail is steeped in history and heritage, with a whole host of stories, legends and paranormal activities to keep visitors entertained. ‘Let’s just say there is definitely an atmosphere and a presence,’ Martin says about the haunted reputation of the Jail. Any favourite prisoner stories? ‘I love the chap who kept committing a petty crime each year, just before Christmas, so he could get a half decent meal and a warm bed for Christmas,’ he laughs.
The building works have not been without challenges, and Martin and the team have had to steer through some interesting situations over the last few years. ‘The biggest challenge we faced was probably the bats,’ Martin states. ‘Bodmin Jail is home to over seven species of bats, including two species of the very rare Horseshoe Bat. As part of the development we have worked very closely with ecologists to ensure we protect the bats and their habitat – we even built a bat bungalow to ensure they have somewhere to roost!’
Martin, who grew up with a father in the RAF, moved to Cornwall in 2016 with his wife, who’s from the South West. ‘I love the beaches, the walks and the culture of Cornwall,’ he says. ‘The heritage and the history are what attracted me to Bodmin Jail in the first place – the chance to deliver an experience like no other by restoring the ruins of this captivating monument so that new generations can experience and understand its importance. We want to give people the opportunity to really feel, hear and taste what it was like to be a prisoner in 18th century Cornwall!’
‘The new year has seen some real developments in the building project,’ he continues. ‘We have finally got a roof on the Jail for the first time in a century! What a milestone.’
Posted: 5th February 2020 By: Tara Jones
Design exclusive to Bodmin Jail
In 2019 Bodmin Jail put a tender out to the talented students of Falmouth University; looking for an alternative design for a brand new range of Bodmin Jail souvenirs and collectables.
The Jail is pleased to announce that Lee Bates’ submission was successful – his unique artwork has been approved, and we have recently received the final finished T-shirt samples…
Lee is a BA Drawing Student and has had work experience with Wessex Archaeology; now in his second year at Falmouth, he excels at Observational drawing and Urban Sketching, and in his own words the “occasional dinosaur”!
His exclusive Bodmin Jail design will be available on clothing & Jail accessories later this Spring.
Posted: 22nd January 2020 By: Tara Jones
Bodmin Jail nominates the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust as its supported charity for 2020.
Our Cornwall Air Ambulance flies more than 800 missions every year bringing vital emergency medical treatment in minutes to patients across Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly.
The trust does not receive any government support towards running costs and relies wholly on the essential donations & the generosity of the public, and sponsorship to keep flying.
2020 will be an exciting year for both parties: the Air Ambulance Trust seeing the arrival and launch of their £2.5m ‘Heli-appeal’ helicopter, and the Jail opening its doors to the public in May with a brand new £8.5m, immersive visitor Attraction.
Keep you eyes peeled for fundraising opportunities over the coming year and help support our amazing Air Ambulance service!
Posted: By: Tara Jones
Seymac Distribution Services and Bodmin Jail have been working together to reduce their carbon footprint during the production and distribution of their marketing literature; working together for a better future.
Plant a Tree – Protect a Tree
For every local tree that we pledge, a tonne of carbon will also be saved in the Brazilian Amazon via our VCS avoided deforestation programme. In this way, you will be offsetting carbon, planting and protecting forests and biodiversity in 2 continents.
Our Tree Planting projects are paired with Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) approved carbon credits to guarantee the carbon offsetting.
This provides robust offsetting, together with all the biodiversity and community benefits that tree planting brings.
What is REDD+?
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is a mechanism to create financial value for the carbon stored in forests. It offers incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.
The United Nations created the REDD+ mechanism to quantify and value the carbon storage services that forests provide.
Tree Buddying Explained
Our UK and Kenya tree planting programme incorporate “Tree Buddying”. This means for each tree you pledge, as well as planting a tree, we also offset one tonne of CO2 through a VCS project, which guarantees offsetting one tCO2.
This ensures your carbon offsetting:
• is fully verified
• meets international standards – including meeting strict additionality requirements
• meets BSI’s PAS 2060 specification on carbon neutrality
• meets the Carbon Footprint Standard and
• continues to take additional CO2 out of the atmosphere during the life of the tree
• in addition to delivering all the other great benefits of the UK Tree and Kenya planting programmes.
Posted: 17th January 2020 By: Tara Jones
£1900 raised for Cornwall Hospice Care in memorabilia auction
It was a full house on Sunday 3rd November as Bodmin Jail hosted one last event before closing its doors for six months to allow construction to finish on its on-going £40million re-development project. An online memorabilia auction gave jail enthusiasts the chance to bid on 32 items from the original attraction, all to raise money for Cornwall Hospice Care.
The auction, which included a number of signs, posters and props taken from the original exhibits, also offered bidders a chance to own full-sized mannequins of the infamous Lightfoot Brothers complete with nooses and Chief Warden Doidge in full uniform. After weeks of bidding, all the items were sold, raising £1900 for the charity.
Cornwall Hospice Care, which celebrates their 40th anniversary next year, are proud to deliver high quality care for all people living with terminal illness in Cornwall and have been the nominated charity for Bodmin Jail in 2019. The funds raised by the jail will go towards the £5.3million it costs to provide the specialist care offered to patients every year.
Martin Lyall, General Manager of Bodmin Jail, said:
“This was a great way to not only give our visitors a chance to own a piece of the original Bodmin Jail attraction, but also a way to raise much needed funds for Cornwall Hospice Care, a charity we are proud to be supporting. We are now very much looking forward the future of Bodmin Jail, re-opening as a brand new attraction in May 2020!”
Melanie Evans from Cornwall Hospice Care, added:
“We are absolutely delighted that Bodmin Jail have kindly supported the Hospices. We are the only provider of adult end of life care in the County. Only one fifth of the funds we need is provided by the NHS the rest must be fundraised. Without the support of businesses in the County we would not be able to continue. As it stands there are 3 beds closed in each Hospice through lack of funding. £20 funds an hour of specialist nursing care, so Bodmin Jail will have funded nearly 100 hours of care and moved us a step closer to opening more beds by Christmas.”
Posted: 3rd December 2019 By: Tara Jones
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
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