Historic Cotswold prison to reopen as a cafe

historic cotswold prison to reopen as a cafe - Historic Cotswold prison to reopen as a cafe
historic cotswold prison to reopen as a cafe 1 - Historic Cotswold prison to reopen as a cafe

An historic former Cotswold prison is to be transformed into a cafe.

Prison food is about to get the Relish touch as the award winning catering company take over The Old Prison at Northleach.

The historic venue closed over a year ago.

Since then its owners, Friends of the Cotswolds, have been looking for a new operator.

The Old Prison, formerly Northleach House of Correction, was built by Sir George Onesiphorus Paul, High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, as part of a pioneering movement of prison reform.

The House of Correction at Northleach was built in 1792 to the designs of William Blackburn.

After the death of Paul in 1820, conditions worsened and hard labour was introduced to the prison.

The buildings were extended in the early 19th Century with a new female cell block being built in 1844.

In 1857 the status of the prison changed to a house of remand and in 1859 the local Petty Sessional Court moved onto the site.

The earlier mill house, with a treadmill for hard labour, was converted into a police station.

By the 1930s the main cell blocks were out of use and were demolished in 1936-7, along with other buildings.

The site ceased to be used by the police and court services in the 1970s.

Remaining buildings contain cells with barred windows as well as a distinctive court room with fitted dock and bench which will still be on view to the public when it reopens in early October.

The glass roof café area will now be transformed into a luscious green dining area, decorated with plants and shrubbery.

It will be made comfy with cosy sofas and dining furniture that will look out onto the grassy courtyard and stables where the Lloyd Baker Rural Life collection of agricultural equipment is on display.

Director and chef Rob Goves is promising an enticing brunch and lunch menu featuring some of the best ingredients the region has to offer.

“We work with some awesome local suppliers whose incredible seasonal produce will do this stunning venue justice, no pun intended. Bramleys for great local veggies, Four Seasons butchers in Cirencester, Sherston free range eggs and local Cotswold Honey,” he said.

“We are already planning the menu and will have dishes like homemade Cotswold honey granola, local fruit, Cotswolds dairy yoghurt, Wiltshire ham & Hereford hop sourdough toasties, and special ‘prison meals’ which will change regularly with the seasons.

Relish and The Old Prison director Philippa Sawyer added: “It is a really exciting project and an incredible space that can be used for private parties, including weddings but is also ideal for coach tours and large groups.

“The cells and court room will remain open so people can take a look at the buildings past.”

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