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
Is there such a creature?
The so-called Beast of Bodmin Moor has sparked stories and legends for three decades about a phantom black cat the size of a puma stalking the moors of Cornwall. Since 1978, more than 60 reports have baffled local police about sightings of a large cat-like creature with supposedly sharp, prominent teeth and white-yellow eyes; a cross between a domestic cat and a panther. A string of mutilated livestock has done nothing but fuel the rumours.
Some people have reported being chased by the powerful and scary cat-like creature. Others have spotted it in the distance, not quite believing their eyes. Grainy photographs and video footage exist, but not enough to prove that it is real.
In 1995 the Government ordered an official investigation into the existence of the beast, which concluded that there was no verifiable evidence of a big cat on Bodmin Moor. It is worth noting it was careful to state that there was no evidence against it, either.
Theories abound as to whether the beast is a myth or reality. A small boy found a large cat skull lying on the banks of the River Fowey in the late 1990s. It was thought this was finally evidence that the Beast of Bodmin Moor actually had existed. However, the Natural History Museum confirmed that the skull did, indeed, belong to a leopard, but that the leopard had been imported into Britain as part of a leopard skin rug!
Another long-held hypothesis about the Bodmin Beast centres around the release or escape of big cats from private collections or zoos. It was first claimed that Mary Chipperfield, a 1970s British circus entertainer, released three pumas into the wild following the closure of her Zoo in Plymouth in 1978. Another claim was made in 2016 by Dartmouth Zoo about a pack of pumas released in the 1980s, which would explain the existence of big cats on the moor for the last 30 years. However, scientists have rejected this theory based on the grounds that the numbers needed to sustain a breeding population of big cats would be too large for the food supply.
There is, of course, the possibility that the animal is a species of wild cat thought extinct in Britain many years ago, still surviving on the moors of Cornwall. Others blame the paranormal, believing the beast to be a mythical and ghostly apparition of a creature that roamed Cornwall in the past.
Meanwhile, the Beast of Bodmin sightings continue…
Posted: 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
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