Prison transformed into a hotel

Bodmin Jail, a derelict 18th-century prison in Cornwall, England, is undergoing a historic transformation.

We love a hotel rich in history just as much as the next person, but we hadn’t quite expected to feel as compelled to spend a night or two in a former-prison until we saw these refurbishment plans.

Twelve Architects, an award-winning London-based firm, are embarking on the historic project to turn the abandoned prison into a 63-room hotel and visitor experience.

Two former-cell blocks will become hotel accommodation, though the rooms will resemble nothing of the previous occupants’ digs.

A glass roof will shine light on the dark past of the structure.

Three cells will become one luxurious room, complete with an ensuite and original weathered stone finishes.

A new external lift and core, both clad in charred timber, will be added to improve circulation and servicing to the Grade II listed building. And to contrast the jail’s dark and gruesome past, a glass atrium-style roof will flood the interiors with natural light.

“It’s fantastic to see work starting on site at Bodmin Jail,” says Matt Cartwright, Twelve Architects’ Founding Director.

Would you spend a night in a former prison?

Designed by John Call and built in 1779, Bodmin Jail was a site of incarceration and execution for almost 150 years until it was closed in 1927. More than 50 executions took place at the prison.

Following the building’s close, attempts were made to blow it up for salvage, however, the structure’s one-meter thick walls meant much of the original build was unable to be demolished.

The decrepit building will be transformed into a luxury hotel.

“The whole team and the client, Mallino Development, has worked incredibly hard to bring this project forward,” Matt says.

“Given the high level of support we’ve received from the local community we all hope the people of the town will also be pleased to see progress being made.

“It’s an important project for Bodmin and for Cornwall more widely, bringing a historic asset back into greater use and adding a new dimension to the visitor attractions in the area, as well as providing a valuable educational resource.”

Two former-cell blocks will make up the new accommodation and museum.

Over the years, nine species of bats have made the former-prison their home. And as the redevelopment takes place, plans are in place to relocate the bats to a purpose-built ‘bat bungalow’ nearby.

The hotel is expected to open in 2019. Bats will not be invited.

Originally published as Bat-infested prison transformed into a hotel by Katie Skelly. Author at