• Gemma Duck

Day Trip To . . . Shepton Mallet Prison, UK

Updated: Dec 19, 2019


Not your conventional family Sunday day trip but after wandering down a lane, following signs to a prison entrance and standing in the gate way pondering for a bit we gave into the children's begging and arm tugging and headed inside to explore.

If you get the chance I would thoroughly recommend visiting Shepton Mallet Prison, for most of us I hope it is the only opportunity we get to be inside a building of this kind.

I'm not great with small spaces and feeling trapped but inside this is ultimately what you are, the walls around the prison are so high there is no sign of out side life, its literally like being inside you own little world. honestly

The square footage of the Prison is so much smaller than I anticipated, and thinking that some inmates spent lifetimes inside made me really emotional. I did try to remind myself that they would of made choices that ultimately resulted in them being inside these walls, but you can't help but be contemplate.

Walking around the blocks I honestly felt like I was suffocating, the cells were so small and I could almost hear the chanting of inmates and feel the unease (I was literally inside Shawshank Redemption).

I'm not the biggest believer in life after-death, ghosts and so on however in some areas of the prison my head felt like it was going to explode, in others I felt uneasy, and in some rooms I was completely overridden with emotion. Even Mollie burst into tears walking down a flight of stairs and as soon as we reached the bottom stopped. Maybe honestly was just the space, the emptiness, the cold (I haven't mentioned how cold it was inside yet, it was freezing, even on a warm September day) all mixed with the knowledge that people lived here sometimes for years on end with no access to the outside world or maybe it was something else . . . . . . . . . . . ?

I wanted to get some pictures of the Ducklings inside a cell, but they were literally having none of it, so we compromised with some cell like pictures taken outside stood behind a bar door ;-) Not quite the same but I love them none the less.

Obviously every trip to a prison results in Mug Shots!

The children couldn't wait to tell everyone about their visit to the prison and even better they all swear they are never going to a 'real' one and so insist that they are going to be good all day, every day, forever . . . . result! ;-)

Photography: Gemma Duck

Location: Shepton Prison (Jailhouse Tours)

Until next time

Gemma

xxx


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