Last Weekend when I visited Oxford we went to Oxford Castle an ancient building in the heart of the city. What I didn’t know before arriving was that it was HMP Oxford prison until 1996. The black Panther was a well know inmate among many others. Whilst it was a fascinating glimpse into somewhere I would not ever like to visit for real, the same cannot be said of the main wing which is now transformed into Hotel Malmaison.
We decided to have a look around and I felt like I’d stumbled upon a scene from the popular TV series ‘Porridge’ only a luxury version. It had all the atmosphere of the original prison and one could easily imagine the uniformed inmates being let out of their cells by stern guards and descending the stairs to breakfast. You could almost hear the clanking of keys and the echo of shouts and lots of voices However it was now eerily quiet with plush carpets, chandeliers and comfy sofas in abundance. The lift gave you the feeling you were in a padded cell and everywhere was low lighting to give a strange and slightly eerie feel. You couldn’t help but wonder what may have occurred in that building over the years.
The cells/rooms must have been at least 3 cells knocked into 1 room. Perhaps 1 cell per room may have been a little too authentic and I am sure the restaurant serves more than porridge and gruel. The doors to the rooms were not changed at all and had the cell numbers and peepholes in the door (blocked up I hasten to add)
Although we were not staying there this time I immediately put it on the list for a must stay at some time in the future. It seemed like a fun and quirky place to spend a weekend and I am sure there was more oddness to discover
I Never thought I would be saying that I would really like to spend a night or two in the cells so much! I hope they give you the key though!