Our all-new audio guides were introduced this month and they’re going down a storm with our visitors. The feedback we’re getting is that the guides really enhance the visitor experience, adding another layer of drama to the story of the jail.
The guides haven’t replaced our costumed characters, because we know that people, especially children, love to interact with our actors and get their photo taken with Warder and the prisoners. Rather the guides work alongside our actors and our information panels to provide an informative and exciting experience. There are so many great stories to tell about the jail and its past inhabitants, and the guides give us another way to share them.
The audio guides will take you on a journey through Inveraray Jail, from pre-judicial justice right up to the closure of the jail. There are 25 information stops along the way. As well as an audio tour, relevant images, press cuttings and other materials pop up on the hand-held guide as you move through the jail.
The guide features real stories about real prisoners, brought vividly to life by actors. In the Old Prison, you’ll meet jailor Duncan Campbell, who will fill you in on the escapes from the prison and introduce you to some of the Old Prison’s inmates, including Archibald MacLellan, also known as “Mad Archie.”
Later on you’ll come across Janet Thompson, the jail’s first Matron, and her husband Malcom Thompson the Prison Governor. They’ll show you the ‘new regime’, introduced after the Prison Reform Act of 1835, including the hammocks, washroom and heating. Listen to Janet as she tells you that: ‘We have installed a private water closet along the corridor where prisoners can well….you know…. And as you can see, we have transformed part of the crowded and foul smelling old “Dayroom” into this modern washroom.’ Malcom, meanwhile, will take great delight in introducing you to the ‘garments’ that were used to punish prisoners, including leg irons, handcuffs and restraint jackets.
When you enter Inveraray Jail’s courtroom, the guides will take you back in time and you’ll become part of the sensational trials that took place here almost two centuries ago. You can choose to hear three defendants – a woman, a man and a child – being sentenced. Listen to the court in action and feel the tension as the sentences are passed.
The guides are aimed at people aged 8 to 80 plus. Younger ones might find some of it a bit scary – especially the bit featuring Mad Archie – so we leave it up to parents to make the call.
We hope you enjoy using the guides when you next visit Inveraray Jail. And before you leave, feel free to take advantage of some other twenty-first century resources, including the interactive touch-screen kiosk that allows you to search the prison records. There’s also free Wi-Fi throughout the jail , so why not post photographs and videos of your visit to friends or social media?