About Littledean Jail – Alcatraz of the Forest…
Standing at the gateway to the Royal Forest of Dean, this former House of Correction – Littledean Jail was designed and built by the Pioneer of Prison Reform – Sir George Onesiphorous Paul and leading Prison Architect of his day – William Blackburn. As a result of the sudden death of Blackburn it was completed under the supervision of his new brother-in-law, architect William Hobson in 1791.
This remarkable Grade II* listed building was built as the most up-to-date, revolutionary House of Correction of its time, and was later seen as the Government’s role model for London’s Pentonville Prison and taken across the seas for the world famous Philadelphian Cherry Hill Penitentiary System in America. It was built for the miserly sum of £1,650. The building work was started in 1788 by Gabriel Rogers, who went bankrupt as a result of not being able to complete the work at such low costs. London Builder J. Fentiman was brought in to finish the job.
Behind the austere gatehouse entrance, the prison, with it’s formidable sandstone façade remains much as it was when first built. Steeped in history and infamy, its awesome appearance provides a stark reminder of the hard labour and craftsmanship needed to build this architecturally important jailhouse.
EARLY VICTORIAN PRISON WARDEN/GUARD TUNIC BUTTON
Probably insignificant to visitors …. however I love this item which has been recently discovered and acquired for display here . Intriguingly this early Victorian Prison Warden/Guard tunic button is worded LITTLE DEAN (AS TWO WORDS) WITH PRISON BENEATH (INSTEAD OF GAOL ) … as opposed to it’s early title as having been “Littledean Gaol”.
Littledean Jail – ‘The Crime Through Time Collection’
Previously set up and housed at a former police station and courthouse at Nicholson House, Newent in Gloucestershire between 1998 – 2003. It had soon outgrown its previous home and as a result of this has been relocated lock, stock and barrel to its much larger home, here at Littledean Jail.
Over the years its owner Andy Jones has become a (some say) controversial and distinguished county personality, with his much-publicised battles with Tewkesbury Borough and Forest of Dean Council planning officers. His ‘Crime Through Time Collection’ is of worldwide interest and is in itself a magnet for publicity… being regularly covered in newspapers, magazines and TV programmes around the globe.
Despite much publicised threats of enforcement, imprisonment and boycotting actions imposed upon the owner over some two decades or more… his collection has been highly acclaimed as being one of the most unorthodox, interesting and historically significant of its kind, providing a unique niche in the Tourism Market place.
Littledean Jail Admission Prices 2012:
Price includes admission to the Quadrophenia Collection.
- Adults: £7.00
- OAP’s: £5.95
- Children (aged 8 – 16): £4.95
Children under 8: FREE
- Family: £21.00
- If you’re 100 years young then admission is FREE!
How to AVOID Littledean Jail!
When you approach Littledean, the ‘Gateway to the Forest of Dean’,
follow the brown tourist signs.
Cars can be accommodated at the entrance to the jail whilst COACHES should simply use the Littledean village bus stops as ‘drop off points’. These are situated approximately 80 metres from the entrance to the jail on either side of the road.
Escape from Littledean Jail!
Gloucester is just 20 minutes from the Jail, but if you want to get further away, Bristol, Cheltenham, Hereford and Cardiff are about 40 minutes. Birmingham is a round hour, whilst London is only just under 3 hours away – but who would want to go there!
- Open from April 1st to October 31st
- Day visits are only allowed from 10am to 5pm (last entry 3.45pm)
- Visiting Orders are not necessary!
Please kindly note that we are only OPEN from Thursdays to Sundays & Bank Holiday’s (or at other times solely at The Jailers discretion).
Occasionally special Corporate, Mystery Tours and Evening Visits for groups of 20 or more can be arranged, but only by kind permission from The Jailer (He’s only a little scary!)
Schools and College visits are also welcome, but must be under strict supervision, as
The Jailer has been known to lock trouble makers in the spare cells if compromised!
ABOVE ARE A FEW IMAGES OF LITTLEDEAN JAIL AS IT IS NOW, BOTH OUTSIDE AND IN.