Get into jail free!

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Following the exciting and long-awaited news that local charity the Friends of the Cotswolds are the preferred bidder by Cotswold District Council to take ownership of the Old Prison building and site at Northleach, an open event to “show the potential” is being organised for local residents and supporters on Sunday 12 August.

The event, which will take place between 1.30pm and 4pm, will provide a unique opportunity to view parts of the site not normally open to the general public such as the Old Police Station. As well as being able to enjoy a full guided tour of the site, including the original female cell block, the courtroom, the Rural Life Collection, the Escape to the Cotswolds discovery centre, plus other exhibits including the Gloucestershire Geology Trust Roadshow. Visitors on the day will also have the opportunity to hear from representatives from the Friends of the Cotswolds, Northleach with Eastington Town Council and the Cotswolds Conservation Board on their proposed vision for the future of the site. Guests will be welcome to make suggestions and are especially asked to bring any memories and anecdotes about the Old Prison site before it closed in the 1970s.

Chairman of the Friends of the Cotswolds, Simon Randall is keen to demonstrate their commitment to conserving the heritage of the building for the future: "During the past year, we have been immensely encouraged by the amount of support we have received from local people and visitors in our bid to save this wonderful site for the future enjoyment of many people. We are now looking forward to meeting many of them next month as we share our future plans and listen to their ideas and hear about their memories of the Old Prison site. I'm sure it will be a very interesting day all round"

The event will start at 1.30pm and finish at 4pm on Sunday 12 August. For further details, contact the Cotswolds Conservation Board on 01451 862000.

Notes to editors:

Northleach House of Correction
The Northleach House of Correction is one of four houses of correction built in Gloucestershire in the 1790’s to the design of the then High Sheriff, Sir George Onesiphorus Paul. Paul was the inspiration and driving force behind the reorganisation of Gloucestershire’s prison system, the first such scheme of its kind in the country. Today the keeper’s house, female cells and police station along with the front façade and perimeter wall all survive, as does the court room.

Rural Life Collection
The Rural Life Collection contains a personal collection of agricultural and rural history by Miss Olive Lloyd-Baker who was born in 1902 to a distinguished Gloucestershire family. When she died in 1975 the “Lloyd-Baker Collection” was accepted by HM Treasury in lieu of estate duties and its ownership transferred to Cotswold District Council. Since 1981 when it was housed at Northleach, further additions to the collection have been made by generous donations from local people. At the heart of the collection are 23 farm wagons and carts, with regional and national significance as locally-distinctive examples.

Escape to the Cotswolds
The ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’ discovery centre was opened by the Cotswolds Conservation Board in July 2010 to provide a colourful insight into the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is open between April and October, Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm.

Friends of the Cotswolds
The Friends of the Cotswolds is a charity started in 2007 whose purpose is to conserve and enhance the Cotswolds whilst raising awareness of our natural environment and provide activities and facilities for visitors and people living and working in the Cotswolds. Visit:

Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape.
  • The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members - 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
  • The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas. There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland. For further details, visit:

For further information:

Nicola Greaves, Information & Interpretation Officer, Cotswolds Conservation Board. Tel: 01451 862003 Email:
Tel: 01451 862000 Website:

Simon Randall. Chairman Friends of the Cotswolds 07802 968428