Our new house has a rather interesting view from the rear – it overlooks Dorchester Prison – or rather the building formerly known as Dorchester Prison as it closed in 2013. I am rather fond of it – the magnificent 19th century building with it’s huge chimney stacks makes for an interesting skyline. The whole place has been purchased by a big development company, who opened it to the public for an afternoon this week as part of the consultation process into what they will do with it.
Obvs as it is so close to us, what they do with it is of interest to us, not that I seriously expect local residents opinions to be taken into account over financial gain, but there was no way we were going to miss an opportunity to see what lurks behind the walls. And very interesting it was too.
We were only allowed access to a very small part of it, but I found it fascinating, and a little bit creepy in a cool way. We took the obligatory photos of each other pretending to look suitably prison miserable. And I especially enjoyed reading the graffiti etched into the window panes of the cells – sadly it didn’t photograph well, but my favourite was ‘I’m off to Narnia’ which someone else had responded to with ‘fuck that shit’, which gave me the giggles being an immature lover of a good profanity.
I imagine there have been some very dark days for people imprisoned here over it’s long history. The main buildings were built in the late 19th century after a cholera epidemic led to the demolition of the previous prison on the same site. Go back far enough in time and it was the site of the long lost Dorchester Castle.
It seems likely that the grand old building will remain, despite not being listed. I hope the plans allow for a good archaeological rummage before anything else is done, as there is no doubt much to be found here.
I hope when they are finished there will be some decent priced housing and maybe some lovely outdoor space to explore. I am imagining whatever it is will provide us with a fair degree of noise and dust while it is ongoing though – deep joy!
Love Miss Cisco XXX