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PHOTOS: 30 million pounds to develop Bodmin Jail

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7:37am 22nd June 2017
(Updated 7:37am 22nd June 2017)

30 million pounds will be pumped into turning Bodmin Jail into a major Cornish tourist attraction.

Plans for the development were given the green light by Cornwall Council last week.

Now designer, Sarner International, is revealing more details about how it wants to do-up the site.

Officials say it will transform the historic building, once the site of hangings by renowned British executioner Henry Albert Pierrepoint, into an "immersive, educational visitor experience".

Repairs will be made to parts of the Bodmin Jail building, creating an exhibition, restaurant, hotel and retail space with an investment of £30 million.

It is expected to open in 2019 and create up to 60 full-time jobs, as well as extra work during the peak holiday periods.

Sarner International have worked on exhibitions for The Science Museum, BBC Worldwide's Doctor Who Experience, George Washington's Mount Vernon (USA), The Fram Museum (Norway) and The National War Museum (Malta).

They will oversee the creative vision for the attraction, incorporating Cornwall's rich history, the life and times of Bodmin Jail, tales of nearby Bodmin Moor and stories of the notorious criminals that passed through the 18th Century prison.

The exhibition will incorporate the latest technology with a range of scenic sets, films, projections and theatrical effects, taking visitors back in time to experience life and death within the prison walls.

bodmin jail 5

Michael Bennett, Sarner's Creative Director, says the transformed museum will open people's eyes to crime and punishment 200 years ago.

He told Pirate FM: "Our inspiration came from the stories we learned about Bodmin Jail.

"The treatment of prisoners, some whose crimes only amounted to stealing a sheep, will stun visitors.

"We've selected our theme - Don't Stray from the Path - to show how treacherous life could be for anyone who veered from the straight and narrow".

Visitors will be taken from the dank smugglers' cavern to the stormy coastline, across the moor and through a crime-ridden Victorian village, dodging highwaymen to face the judge at Bodmin Assizes Court.

Guilty, they will be led away to experience grimy, rat-infested cells, witnessing the hard labour and disease that prisoners endured.

Executions were held in Bodmin Jail before it closed in 1927 and visitors will learn how changes in public opinion helped reform the way prisoners are treated.

bodmin jail 3

Photos: Bodmin Jail Supporters Facebook page

Once opened in 2019, the improved self-sustaining museum will result in 50-60 full-time jobs for local people as well as additional staff for the hotel and restaurant during peak times.

All work to the Grade II listed historic building, much of which is currently in ruins, will be done with support and guidance from archaeological, engineering and architectural experts.

The team of experts appointed to deliver this project alongside Sarner include Twelve Architects, Montagu Evans, Arup, Turner & Townsend and Astute Fire.

A Facebook page has been set up, called Bodmin Jail Supporters, which is backing the scheme.

It states: "We support the development of Bodmin Jail and surrounding land for a better Bodmin. The development will:

  • Create a 63 bedroom hotel
  • Create a substantial new attraction and education facility
  • Secure the long-term future of this important heritage asset of national importance
  • Create a major investment in Bodmin Jail with a ‘buy-local’ policy
  • Create substantial job opportunities with a significant increase in staff numbers.
  • Provide Significant local construction jobs during the build process
  • The principal contractor will employ local firms where possible
  • Scheduled for completion in early 2019

"This is a transformational investment/change. There will be no Coach parking in Berrycoombe Vale. Visitors will gravitate toward the town centre and local business".

You can read more and find out how to support the project here or check more information on Bodmin Jail Supporters website.

7:37am 22nd June 2017

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