By Mark McConville
BRITAIN’S most haunted prison including the cells that once held the infamous gangster Reggie Kray as-well-as criminals sentenced to death by hanging has been revealed by a brave photographer.
Haunting pictures show some of the older parts of the Shepton Mallet jail, in Somerset, which dates back to the 17th century, including crumbling stairways, flaking cell walls and rotting bathrooms. The prison is known for having executed US and British criminal soldiers during WW2 by both hanging and firing squad as late as 1944.
Other striking shots show what’s left of the cell which housed notorious East End gangster Reggie Kray during his time there in the 1950s.
The spooky snaps were taken by an urban explorer known as The Elusive who claimed to have felt the presence of the many executions that took place there.
“It is damp and windy and quiet with doors and corridors everywhere while footsteps, voices and door hinges could be heard from a long distance away,” they said.
“It’s sad that a lot of people were executed there and given the age of the prison you can really feel it.
“The prison existed long before burial laws so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were unmarked graves all over the complex.
“After finding the cells in the walls you feel there must be plenty more grizzly surprises lurking.”
HMP Shepton Mallet, sometimes known as Cornhill, is a former prison located in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England. Originally built as a House of Correction in 1625 this prison has a terrifying history.
When it closed in 2013, it was the United Kingdom’s oldest operating prison, and had been since the closure of HMP Lancaster Castle in 2011. Before closure Shepton Mallet was a category C lifer prison holding 189 prisoners.
In the 17th and 18th Centuries the men, women and children who were imprisoned here existed in the most horrific conditions where they were left starving in packed, small pox infested cells.
It is said that former inmates lie in unmarked graves throughout the grounds. Seven Judicial executions took place here between 1889 and 1926 but the full amount of executions that took place here prior to this is unknown.
In the Second World War it was adapted as a military prison and used by the British and the Americans. By the end of 1944 sixteen Americans had been hanged and 2 shot by firing squads for crimes that included rape and murder.
The Elusive, who took these photographs with a Nikon D3200, explained why they like to visit abandoned places.
“There is a mish mash of architecture and plenty of decay,” they said.
“It’s a service that has outgrown the building and its pretty imposing. I just love the architecture and the decay.
“In the wings it’s the perspective shots and in this place particular it’s a chance to capture it whilst it’s still in this state as once its restored images are all that will be left.”
Shepton Mallet prison is now taken over at the weekends by Haunted Happenings, an organisation that runs ghost hunts.
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