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Design Prison to I


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When it opens its freshly coated doors this summer, the Bodmin Jail Hotel will be liberated from its former role as a bastion of crime and punishment and offered a new lease of life as a boutique hotel. Far from being a unique conversion project, Bodmin joins an impressive roster of former jails that have become stylish hospitality ventures, including the Malmaison Hotel in Oxford and the Courthouse Hotel in London. Will Moffi tt speaks to Matt Cartwright, a founding director of Twelve Architects, the company that led Bodmin’s re-design, about the challenges of turning this former clink into a vibrant hospitality space.


f the walls of Bodmin Jail could talk, they would be screaming. First built in 1779, this austere prison complex situated on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall has housed more than 35,000 prisoners in its time, including 341 children. It has been the site of over 55 public hangings, and the crimes committed by some of its more notorious former inmates run the gamut from petty theft and fraud to arson, rape and murder.


Designed by East India Company servant and military engineer Sir John Call, Bodmin is not just another heritage-listed building but a landmark structure within the British judicial system. It was the first gaol to hold prisoners in individual cells with segregated male and female areas, hot water, and light and airy areas for prisoners to live and work. Since its closure in 1929, however, the old prison complex has struggled to find its way.


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Hotel Management International / www.hmi-online.com


Bodmin Jail Hotel


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