Saturday, 6 March 2010

Strangeway Prison Riot

H.M.P Manchester formerly known as Strangeways was the scene of the worst ever prison riot in mainland Britain. The riot started on the 1st of April 1990 lasted for 25 days. 147 prison officers and 47 prisoners were injured. Much of the prison was badly damaged or destroyed; the staggering cost of rebuilding came to £55 million.

Built in 1868 it replaced the New Bailey Prison in Salford with a capacity to hold 953 men. On the eve of the riot the total number of inmates was 1647. Tensions had been amongst the inmates for sometime, complaints about the food, overcrowding and staff brutality were amongst the men’s many grievances. Strangeways is a category b prison, and grade 2 listed building. The prison walls are said to be 16 feet thick. Its 234 feet high tower dominates the Manchester skyline and served as a grim reminder to potential law breakers.

The prison was built on the grounds of Strangeways Park and Gardens, which gave the prison its original name.

Strangeways was also a place of execution, the last hanging to take place there was in 1964. Originally the prison contained an execution shed in B wing. During the Second World War a special execution room and condemned cell were built. The quickest recorded hanging took place in Strangeways, Albert Pierrepoint executed James Inglis in only seven and a half seconds, from being led out of his cell until the trapdoor opened to send him on his fatal drop. In total exactly 100 people were hung at Strangeways.

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