Shrewsbury Prison – The Dana
The Dana, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 2HR
28th May 2016, 20:30 to 02:00
We are delighted to secure this event in partnership with our good friends at Darkside Paranormal.
It’s the venue everyone is talking about. The prison which includes 2 wings is certainly going to be a unique venue to explore and you certainly need to expect the unexpected. Dare you join us?
£53:00 per person
The Dana was competed in 1793 and was named after Rev Edmund Dana (1739-1823).
The original building was constructed by Thomas Telford to plans by Shrewsbury architect John Hiram Haycock. William Blackburn, an architect who designed many prisons, also played a part in drawing up the plans for the new prison. It was Blackburn who chose the site on which the prison is built. Blackburn was influenced by the ideas of John Howard. Howard was a prison reformer who had suggested various ways in which the sanitary conditions of English prisons could be improved.
These measures formed part of the 1774 Gaol Act.
Howard visited Shrewsbury in 1788 to inspect the plans for the new prison. He disliked some aspects of the designs, such as the size of the interior courts. As a result, redesigns were undertaken by Thomas Telford. Telford had been given the position of clerk of works at the new prison the previous year.
The bust above the gatehouse of the prison is of John Howard himself, who also gives his name to Howard Street where the prison is located. Howard died three years before the prison was completed after contracting typhus whilst visiting a Russian military hospital at Kherston.
For many years Shrewsbury prison was a place of execution, which in older times was carried out in public and drew huge crowds in an unwholesome festive atmosphere. People used to turn up early to make sure they got a good place, and posters were produced as souvenirs. Shrewsbury’s last public hanging was on April 11, 1863, when 30-year-old Edward Cooper was executed for a murder at Baschurch. It was particularly popular, with numbers watching nearly 10 times higher than the previous execution.
During a redevelopment in 1972 , the remains of 10 unnamed prisoners executed at Shrewsbury Prison were dug up. Nine were cremated and one set was handed over to relatives.
These remains would have been just the tip of the iceberg – scores of prisoners were hanged at Shrewsbury, for crimes as minor as stealing sheep, and they included at least one woman. In April 1822 five prisoners were hanged for burglary in just one day.
Between 1902 and 1961 the following seven people were executed by hanging within the walls of
HMP Shrewsbury for the crime of murder:-
Richard Wigley aged 34 yrs on Tuesday, 18 March 1902 (Mary Ellen Bowen - girlfriend)
William Griffiths aged 57 yrs on Tuesday, 24 July 1923 (Catherine Hughes - mother)
Frank Griffin aged 40 yrs on Thursday, 4 January 1951 (Jane Edge)
Harry Huxley aged 43 yrs on Tuesday, 8 July 1952 (Ada Royce - girlfriend)
Donald Neil Simon aged 32 years on Thursday, 23 October 1952 (Eunice Simon - estranged wife & Victor Brades her lover)
Desmond Donald Hooper aged 27 yrs on Tuesday, 26 January 1954 (Betty Smith)
George Riley aged 21 yrs on Thursday, 9 February 1961 (Adeline Mary Smith - neighbour)
Executions took place at 8.00 am. All executed prisoners were buried in unmarked graves inside the prison, as was customary. The four executions which took place during the 1950s were all conducted by Albert Pierrepoint and his assistant. The last execution in 1961 was conducted by Harry Allen and his assistant.
These are just some of the names we you might be able to communicate with on the night if you are brave enough to join us.
The night includes
- Vigils in the dark
- Glass Divination
- Ouija Board experience
- The White Noise Experiment
- Tea and Coffee refreshments
- Use of all Ghost Hunting Equipment
- The guidance of our highly qualified team members
Guests are asked to bring a torch.