Sunday, 6 May 2018

Inveraray Jail

Yesterday afternoon, I toured the Old Jail in Inveraray. 

The Jail exhibits really are well done. The story boards explain the social and legal aspects of the times in which the prison was active. Actual cases are also shared on story boards, giving one a wonderful sense of live in days gone by. 

In addition to the story boards, the audio guide gives more detailed information about the running and day to day existence for the prisoners. 

 The courtroom

 Hammocks were used as beds

 All prisoners were stripped upon entry to the jail

 They were given a hot bath

 using lye soap to clear them of "vermin" 

The prisoners then washed their own clothing 

Each prisoner was allowed one hour a day in the "airing yard" for exercise and fresh air

Once the jail was separated into two buildings - one for women and one for men, the women were given chores in the kitchen and laundry while men worked to pick oakum or repair nets. 

Of particular interest to me was the ability to see some of the archival records that were used to put the displays together. 

When I was in the Highland Museum in Fort William last year, I saw the birching table. A replica is on display at the jail in Inverary.  Also on display are the "whipping" registers

Social history museums are such vital resources to assist us in understanding the times in which our ancestors lived. Inveraray Jail provides just such a window into the past. 

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