There has been a prison at Shrewsbury since 1793. The present building was built in 1877 on the site of the original Georgian prison. This is close to the location of an even older Dana Gaol (medieval prison).The most recent prison was a category B/C men’s prison, which finally closed in March 2013. Until 1922 the site also accommodated female inmates.
There is a long and gruesome history associated with this prison, between 1902 and 1961 there seven executions at the prison of murderers on this site. In each case the victim of the crime was female. In most cases the victim was either known by, or related to the murderer. These prisoners were buried in unmarked graves on the prison grounds, although they have since been dug up and cremated.
Shrewsbury prison had an unenviable record for prisoners committing suicide while incarcerated. In 204 three inmates succeeded in hanging themselves in the space of two weeks. Shrewsbury was not a pleasant place to be locked up. It was frequently noted as being one of the most overcrowded prisons in the country and in 2008 was housing 326 prison in a space intended for 178. Only Liverpool Prison was more overcrowded than Shrewsbury.
Visiting the prison today means entering a vast, daunting location with an atmosphere of human misery that hangs over everything. There have been many accounts of supernatural activity here. One of the most common is in the area where the executions took place. There have been numerous accounts of someone seen looking out of the window in that room.
The tunnels which were built under the original Georgian prison are still in evidence, and indications of the many secret entrances can easily be found. This prison is known for the unexplained noises that are heard frequently on the site. Prison doors are heard to close with a bang, and the noise of prisoners wailing can frequently be heard from empty cells.