Shrewsbury Prison

Shrewsbury Prison
Shrewsbury Prison, The Dana, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
01743 343 100
Region or country
England (West Midlands)

Shrewsbury Prison, known as The Dana, was completed in 1793 and named after Rev Edmund Dana. The original building was constructed by Thomas Telford, following plans by Shrewsbury Architect, John Hiram Haycock.

For many years Shrewsbury Prison was a place of execution which in older times was carried out in public and drew huge crowds in an unwholesome festive atmosphere. People used to turn up early to make sure they got a good place and posters were produced as souvenirs.

Shrewsbury’s last public hanging was on April 11th 1863 when 30-year-old Edward Cooper was executed for murder. It was particularly popular, with numbers watching 10 times higher than the previous execution.

From 1902-1961 there were eight executions at Shrewsbury Prison. On the 9 February 1961, 21-year-old George Riley was executed by hanging for the murder of a 62-year-old woman. This would be the last execution to take place at Shrewsbury Prison before this form of capital punishment was abolished in 1969.

During redevelopment in 1972, the remains of ten prisoners executed at Shrewsbury Prison were dug up. Nine of those prisoners were unrecognisable and were subsequently cremated. The remaining prisoner was identified as George Riley, where his remains were handed over to his relatives.

What can be found at the venue?
Collection of artifacts, Historic building or site
Significant collections relating to regional crime and punishment organisation or to a particular individual
A Victorian prison building open for tours. The prison museum holds home-made weapons (such as Prison shanks) that have been discovered hidden in wall cavities, to artwork and sculptures created by ex-prisoners. It has curated a collection of artefacts and memorabilia from when Shrewsbury Prison was a working prison.
Does the venue have an online collections catalogue?
Details of opening for public access and / or research services
Mon-Fri: 10am-5pm (Thurs: 10am-9pm)
Sat-Sun: 10am-5pm
Available services or facilities
Cafe, Shop, Visitor parking, Toilets
Accessibility and disability arrangements / Covid requirements
We have a small car park opposite the prison (SY1 2HP).

Shrewsbury Prison welcomes all visitors, however, the nature of our historic site means that in parts this Victorian building may present difficulties for people with disabilities and those with limited mobility. The vast majority of the site is accessible but there are the traditional stairs between the landings which may cause difficulties. There is a disabled toilet, and the on-site restaurant is fully accessible. If you have any questions for the team prior to your visit, please contact us.
Date information added or updated:
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  • Shrewsbury Prison