Step through the doors of Inveraray Jail and step back in time to a 19th-century prison. Experience what real life was like for real men, women and children – some as young as seven – who were tried and locked up here. Explore the atmospheric historic buildings at your leisure and meet the costumed characters who animate the past in this unique living museum.
Torture, Death and Damnation
Your journey starts in the Torture, Death and Damnation exhibition, which reveals the many gruesome forms of punishment and deterrents used before the days of county courts and prisons. Discover how criminals were branded with hot irons or had their ears nailed to a post. You can even try out the actual thumbscrews used to inflict pain – if you dare!
Walk the narrow corridors, see the cramped, overcrowded cells and witness how young children were kept in cells alongside lunatics. Hear the jangle of keys and the sound of heavy boots echo in the corridor as the Warder comes to lock you up. Meet the prisoners and listen to their stories about life in jail.
Enter the spectacular courtroom. Take your seat alongside the witnesses and listen to extracts from actual trials held in this room over 150 years ago. Imagine that you were in the dock, facing time in Jail. Feel the tension as the sentence is passed. Now it is time to make your way down to the prisons…
Compare the Old Prison with the New Prison. Built in 1848, it was a model prison in its day. Try out the hammocks and the wooden beds, get strapped onto the whipping table or take a turn on the crank wheel. Find out about the people held here, from prisoners transported to Australia to those who served time for trivial crimes such as stealing a turnip. Visit our modern day cell – is prison life too easy today? Uncover amazing facts in all four floors.