Inveraray, the seat of the Duke of Argyll, was for many centuries the principal county town of Argyll. Due to the previous prison having too many escapees – a new Jail and Courthouse opened in 1820 and remained unchanged until 1843 when the Airing Yards were built. These were to provide a secure place where prisoners could be exercised in the open air.
In 1848 the New Prison, or Men’s Prison, was completed. This was a model prison for its day with twelve individual cells, a water closet on every floor, accommodation for warders, a store room and indoor exercise gallery. It was also well heated and lit by gas, a far cry from the dark and damp original prison building.
The Jail finally closed on the 30th of August 1889 due to the high expense of running the jail compared to the larger city jails. The rarely used courthouse and prisons fell into disrepair. Fortunately, their significance as the finest 19th century county courthouse and prison in Scotland was recognised. An extensive restoration was undertaken by the Scottish Office and in May 1989, almost a hundred years exactly after the last prisoners departed, Inveraray Jail opened to the public.
Many visitors have been scratched, stroked and pushed, figures have been witnessed, footsteps heard and a number of people have reported smelling tobacco. One theory goes that although the jail was closed down in 1889, there’s a chance that many of its occupants never left. Perhaps those that died there remain trapped. On top of this, the jail had a dark history, with torture, misery and violence part of its story – who remains is for you to discover!
Join Fright Nights for a ghost hunting experience at Inveraray Jail.
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