Historian puts model of Devizes prison on show

Bill Huntley and John Girvan with the model of Devizes Prison at the Shambles, Devizes

Bill Huntley and John Girvan with the model of Devizes Prison at the Shambles, Devizes

First published in News by

A scale model of what Devizes Prison once looked like will be on show at the Old Curiosity Market in Devizes on Monday.

Local historian John Girvan created the model in 1973 after he had moved to Avon Road, where the prison was until it was demolished in the 1920s. His 40 years of research into the history of Wiltshire’s first county prison is included in his latest book, Doing Time in Wiltshire.

Mr Girvan said: “My wife suggested that I write a book about prisons as I had spent so much time on the history of Devizes Prison. It is amazing how much information there is out there about it.”

Bill Huntley, the organiser of the Old Curiosity Market in The Shambles market hall in the Market Place, said: “I think the history of the area is very important and anything I can do to stimulate interest in it is worth doing.”

Before the prison was opened in 1817 convicts were held in local lock-ups and bridewells.

The site was sold to local building firm W E Chivers in 1922 and demolished to make way for the Avon Road estate.

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