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Stirling Old Town Jail

Old Town Jail, Stirling
©2019 Gazetteer for Scotland

Old Town Jail, Stirling

Located on St. John's Street in the shadow of Stirling Castle, the Old Town Jail was designed by Thomas Brown in 1847 as the county jail replacing the overcrowded, damp and disease-ridden cells in the Tolbooth, condemned as the 'worst jail in Britain'. This is a sizeable three-storey building, From 1888 through to 1935 the building served as a Military Prison, the only one in Scotland. Lying abandoned until 1991, it was renovated and restored by Stirling District Council and opened as a unique tourist attraction. Part of the building was converted into offices.

The exhibition illustrates Victorian justice, including floggings and the life of the local hangman, day-to-day prison life, and the work of prison reformers. There is also a special exhibition on the operation of today's prisons and the changes introduced. Access to the roof gives excellent views over the Old Town of Stirling, the Wallace Monument and Carse of Stirling.

The care and management of the Jail is vested in Stirling District Tourism Ltd., a charitable company established by its owners Stirling Council. Ongoing losses brought the intervention of the Council in 2009 with a grant of £40,000 to keep the attraction open.

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