Dartmoor Prison Heritage Centre

sights / Other

Dartmoor Prison Heritage Centre information

adult/child £3/2
Opening hours
9.30am-12.30pm & 1.30-4pm
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Dartmoor jail was built in 1809 to hold first French, then American, prisoners of war. It became a convict prison in 1850, and today is a category C jail, with capacity for 653 inmates. Just up from its looming gates, the Dartmoor Prison Heritage Centre provides a chilling insight into life inside. Look out for the disturbing makeshift knives made by modern prisoners, as well as mock-up cells, straight jackets and manacles. Escapes feature too in the form of sheets tied into ropes and chair legs hammered into grappling hooks. Then there's the tale of Frankie 'the mad axeman' Mitchell, who was supposedly sprung by the '60s gangster twins, the Krays. The centre also sells the bizarrely cheerful garden ornaments made by the prisoners; don't miss the (presumably ironic) neighbourhood-watch figurines.