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HMP Shepton Mallet: Who Cares? Guest blog by Alison Carroll

  • 26 July 2015, 10:07 am
  • By Claire
  • in Shepton Mallet Prison

I am going to start with a confession. I have only lived in the area for 15 years. I have no historic connection to Shepton Mallet. I have no connection to HMP Shepton Mallet.

Do I care about the future of the place? Yes, but only in the sense that I care that it is a listed building; a place with 400 years history; a place who’s redevelopment could influence Shepton Mallet’s future.

William Crampton was a warder and school master at the Prison in the early 1900s.  He is also the great great Grandfather to Shepton Prison campaigner Claire Sully

William Crampton was a warder and school master at the Prison from around 1911. He is also the Great Great Grandfather to Shepton Prison campaigner Claire Sully, who also grew up in Shepton.

Until last week I didn’t know why Claire Sully [1], founder of ‘Creating a Vision and Future for Shepton Mallet Prison’, cared. Turns out that her Great Great Grandfather worked there. He was a School Master and Warder. Take a look at him. I bet he has some stories to tell.

Then there’s the former staff who still live in Shepton Mallet. I know some of them care; they have told me.

Then there’s City and Country. They care. They’ve bought the prison. They have an asset to develop, investment decisions to make. They have a legal duty to care for the listed building.

But then I was struck by this quote from the Shepton Mallet Journal:

Architect Alasdair Travers, who is working on the prison project, said: “The building is so functional, it’s almost a piece of equipment…” [2]

Is the prison just bricks and mortar; a series of functional spaces to redesign – “repurpose”? Or is it where you used to work, or where your Great Great Grandfather worked? Is this the room where American soldiers were hung, or where inmates were put to hard labour on the treadwheel? Is it where the Krays were held or where the Magna Carta and Domesday Book were held?

City and Country have said they would like to hear [3] from people with memories of the site. Have your stories been heard? If not, perhaps you should email planning@cityandcountry.co.uk and let them know why you care.

[1] Read about Claire’s campaign to get the community’s voice heard when considering the vision and future use of the prison.

[2] http://www.sheptonmalletjournal.co.uk/Future-Shepton-Mallet-prison-clearer-second/story-26915287-detail/story.html#ixzz3gDk4q7sI

[3] Download the City and Country questionnaire following the 2nd consultation and make your voice heard.