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Derby Gaol, Derby

3.4
#7 of 10 in Sightseeing in Derby
Historic Site Tourist Spot
The term Derby Gaol historically refers to the five gaols in Derby, England. Today, the term usually refers to one of two tourist attractions, the gaol which stood on Friar Gate from 1756 to 1846 and the cells of which still exist and are open to the public as a museum, and the 1843 to 1929 Vernon Street Prison whose impressive frontage can still be seen today.HistoryIn 1652 the Cornmarket Gaol was the site of the imprisonment of George Fox on charges of blasphemy. Fox became the founder of the Christian denomination the Religious Society of Friends, perhaps better known as the Quakers. It has been alleged that Judge Bennett of Derby first used the term Quaker to describe the movement, as they bid him to 'quake for fear of the Lord', but the phrase had already been used in the context of other religious groups so the etymology is dubious.The last person to be hanged at Derby Gaol was William Slack on 16 July 1907 for the murder of Lucy Wilson.Friar Gate GaolThe Friar Gate Gaol was site of many hangings, and a small museum today displays contemporary accounts of the executions, a replica of the gallows which stood in front of the building, and a display in crime and punishment in Derbyshire, with a fine collection on the Pentrich Martyrs of 1817, who were hanged and beheaded following their failed revolution on charges of treason in front of the building.Allegedly haunted, the building was visited in 2002 by Living TV's Most Haunted. The site is today maintained by Richard Felix formerly of Derby Heritage Centre. The gaol is now run by his son Edward and there are plans to knock through the building next door to open up more cells to the public. The Derby ghostwalks are now run from the gaol following Richard's sale of the heritage centre.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
63 reviews
Google
3.9
  • Denise, Mitchell her son and Ashley were absolutely fantastic hosts! A lot of the history in the Gaol was explained in such detail it was amazing to listen to and such an educational experience. I wen...  more »
  • Friends suggested we spend an evening on the Ghost walk together. I never imagined it would be so entertaining and not having any ecxpectations I was totally surprised on not only how interesting it w...  more »
  • Went here last week on the friargate ghost walk with my daughter, we both had a great night. Can't recommend it enough (especially if you are interested in the history of Derby). The tour guide was fa...  more »
Google
  • Denise, Mitchell her son and Ashley were absolutely fantastic hosts! A lot of the history in the Gaol was explained in such detail it was amazing to listen to and such an educational experience. I went with my mum, my sisters, and my sisters partner who is a disbeliever of all things ghostly, like myself, but whether you're a disbeliever or not, it is a night to remember. It has definitely opened mine and my sisters partners eyes, and not only that, we got to explore some fantastic old buildings and learn about their history. Thanks for a great night!
  • Such a lovely place to visit, the staff are are really helpful and chatty with lots of interesting knowledge too, they also sell the ghost dvds there too at a good price. I visit the place as much as I can. One day when I was there I even managed to meet the man himself (Richard Felix) which was a lovely surprise and he's a very friendly man too, didn't have much time for a chat as he was busy, but it was a bonus to meet him for the first time, hope to see him again sometime. Only thing about the place, wish it could be open a bit longer or maybe Sat/Sun. Apart from that it's a good place to visit. Hope to see you soon lads. From. Mike Wood. From. Chesterfield.
  • It might not be huge but the history the atmosphere and the people make it what it is. I enjoy coming here and the history of the place and on ghost walks are interesting. People moan about the food but it was good enough when we went, the staff do the cooking so people should be greatful that food and drink are available when they visit. The staff are amazing and we thank you for everything
  • East Anglia Paranormal Investigations had an event at Derby Gaol on 16/04/2016. What a very enjoyable experience we had Richard Felix there giving us a chat about Derby Gaol. He is such a genuine guy with a wealth of knowledge. We would also like to thank Ashley Waterhouse and his staff as they couldn't do enough for us.
  • Went on the ghost tour with my friend who lives in Derby and I had an amazing time. The thing is, do not go on this expecting ghosts and banshees to start flying out and screaming 'boo'. Go into this expecting a history lesson in the most macabre spots of the town. There is a fair bit of walking involved so if that is too much for you, don't do it. We were also fed baked potatoes inside the visitor area. The room was lit only by candlelight and the fireplace which gave it an amazing atmosphere. The guide, Mr. Ed Felix, was very entertaining and was willing to share some of his own personal thoughts on the subject matter which really made it more intimate and enjoyable. If you are lucky to get him be ready for some masterful story telling. Now since you aren't guaranteed to experience anything paranormal during your trip they decide to spice things up with some 'boo' scares from costumed employees hiding in the dark during parts of the trip. I personally enjoyed it because it helped liven things up after hearing some of the gruesome tales. But in closing, the staff was fantastic, the food was satisfying, and the stories were very enjoyable. So as long as you don't expect the jail to be a sprawling complex and you come in with a love of local history you will thoroughly enjoy yourself.

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