|Gloucester Prison to close|
COULD the historic Gloucester Prison be transformed into a top city tourist attraction?
That's what Gloucester's ghost lady Lyn Cinderey would like to see with tours of the old prison and night stays.
Last month, the Ministry of Justice said the 222-year-old prison will close by the end of March because it's too expensive to run.
Now a suggestion has been pushed forward that would see tourists walking through the cells in their droves.
Lyn said: "We do need another tourist attraction in Gloucester and the prison would be perfect.
"It would bring visitors in to Gloucester not only in the day time but the night time too, helping with the night time economy that really does need a boost.
"If the prison was made into a tourist attraction and museum for people to look around in the day, and hear the history of the prison, think of the revenue this would bring in."
The city's first lady of the paranormal is also offering her services.
"We could also do a spooky stay overnight and paranormal event where I am certain people will pay to stay the night in a cell," she added.
"People love to stay in haunted buildings and the prison would be perfect.
"I am sure this would work."
Liz Barnwell, destination marketing manager at Marketing Gloucester, believes the suggestion could be viable. She said: "It is quite important to turn it into something, and people should definitely start thinking about it.
"There are limitations as parts of the building are listed.
"However, the more attractions we have in the city the better really. It's all about getting people to come to the city.
"I do feel, however, that Gloucester is lacking a four star hotel in the city centre."
Scott Winnard, of Bruton Knowles estate agents, who marketed a smaller prison of the same era in Northleach, said: "Following the continued success of the regeneration of Gloucester, this could be the lost piece of the jigsaw Gloucester needs."
Designed by William Blackburn, Gloucester opened as a County Gaol in 1782, and was substantially rebuilt in 1840. A new young offenders wing was built at the prison in 1971. Further improvements were made in 1987, including a new gate, administration block and visits centre.
In August 2007, the prison was criticised by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons after an inspection report found the levels of organised activities for inmates at Gloucester (such as training and education) were "woeful". The report also stated that one wing of the prison should be refurbished. However the prison was described as "very positive" overall because of good management.
Herbert Rowse Armstrong (executed in 1922)
Fred West (held on remand)