A history of selling an ancient prison in Shepton Mallet

January 2013: Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced that Shepton Mallet would be one of seven prisons that would be closed in a bid to save £63 million a year in running costs across the six prisons. The proposed super prisons would be around 25% bigger than Britain's existing largest facility and a feasibility study into its construction is to begin. The super prisons would be in London, north-west England or north Wales. The prisons that are to close are Bullwood Hall in Essex, Canterbury, Read more [...]
Balloons in the sky, never forgotten

For Croscombe Primary School, in memory of our special friend Lydia on her birthday May 27th, 2016.

Special friends are warm like sunshine Special friends play together, even if the rain wont stop Special friends do hide and seek Special friends forever in our hearts Special friends are a twinkle twinkle little star Special friends play together, even when the skies are dark Special friends when we tag and chase Special friends forever in our hearts Read more [...]
The Hunters Lodge Backroom Bar

The Hunters Lodge – the Pub that is what it was.

Roger Dors has featured at The Hunters Lodge (near Priddy, Somerset) since 1946, obtaining the publican licence in the early 1970's following  in his uncle's footsteps. Much is the same as it always was, dimly lit, bare stone floors, open fires (required the entire year owing to solid walls and no central heating in the bars).  There are lots of nooks and crannies here, bar and back rooms . I challenge you to remember which door leads to where.  It's popular to those who like to pothole I'm Read more [...]
Writer Stephen Harding

The dark history at Shepton Mallet Prison during World War II? Was the Dirty Dozen inspired by Shepton Mallet’s gaol and were World War II US servicemen put to death because of their race?

Stephen Harding is an Army veteran, a long-time defence-affairs journalist and his New York Times best-seller “The Last Battle”— the true story of the only time in World War II when American and German troops joined forces and fought together—is currently in film production.  Stephen is fascinated by the history of Shepton Mallet prison, researching it extensively with the help of local history books from Franics Disney and Alan Stone (Shepton Mallet Local History Group). In a recent Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison - turning a prison into luxury homes

“Plushly renovated prisons make for secure, quirky homes with colourful histories”, but should the bodies stay or go?

The Daily Mail recently trumpeted that: "Plushly renovated prisons make for secure, quirky homes with colourful histories".  The article about Shepton Mallet Prison was discussing the merits of moving into  a £125,000  cell turned  flat with one or two bedrooms, up to £500,000 for a family — or gang-sized — four-bedroom home. While the idea of living in a secure  quirky new luxury home in an old Somerset market town was being pushed out to the media, there was another more pressing Read more [...]
With my team from Pearl College, Cochin

India must nurture its home-grown digital entrepreneurs, here’s why.

Returning from Kerala -  my third visit in two years – I find myself impatiently counting down the days until I can return.  I have got to know Kerala over the past five years through working with a chain of Keralan restaurants in the UK. Kerala has been a prominent spice exporter since 3000 BCE – drawing traders, explorers and adventurers from all corners of the world.  In Kerala, food is a passion, philosophy and a way of life. Today Kerala is one of the world’s great culinary regions, Read more [...]

Staring into the face of grief

Waking to a BBC news alert - presented as an almost triumphant musical signature on my mobile ,  I learnt, like so many others, that David Bowie had died. This was shocking. Many of us had his smiling face imprinted on our minds because of a photo posted on social media of him celebrating his 69th birthday just a day or so before his death was announced.   He looked fine, handsome, characteristically debonair. The internet lit up with Bowie from then on – the visionary starman – who gazed Read more [...]
Shepton Lantern Parade

Shining a light on a vision for a town

Shepton was shining last night with around 100 lanterns made and paraded with pride from Collett Park to the Market Place. Young and old, long-standing residents and those new to the town reflect what Shepton IS. A creative community spirit clear to us all. A town with rich heritage, historic architecture of sheep farming, cloth production and brewing; the large-scale food and drink and nascent creative industries that we see today. The town came together and pulled in people from the surrounding Read more [...]

Is Shepton Mallet on the cusp of losing an important piece of its history and a potential heritage and tourism asset?

City & Country ran the third of four public consultations on the future use of Shepton Mallet Prison this week.   Once again the foreboding Prison gates were swung open to a queue of people keen to get inside. This is a place that has shut out much of the local community since the 1600s, while housing the infamous - including the Kray brothers. The Magna Carta, Domesday Book and the agreement signed between Neville Chamberlain and Hitler at the Munich Conference in September 1938, as well Read more [...]

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