Final chance to experience life behind bars at Blundeston Prison

A sneak preview of Blundeston Prison. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

A sneak preview of Blundeston Prison. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

It is the place where notorious criminals spent their time behind bars.

For 50 years Blundeston Prison, near Lowestoft, was home to more than 500 inmates.

Among the criminals at the category C men's jail were East End gangster Reggie Kray – one half of the Kray twins, who was an inmate at HMP Blundeston in the 1990s and the so-called 'Lotto Lout' Michael Carroll, who was jailed in 2006 for nine months for affray and breaking a drug testing order.

Richard Reid, who became known as the 'Shoe Bomber' after trying to blow up and kill 197 people on board a transatlantic jet in December 2001, is believed to have served time in HMP Blundeston for criminal offences when he was younger.

But after the Ministry of Justice decided to close the site – with the loss of 230 jobs – in 2013, it was sold to Lowestoft-based Badger Building for £3m.

Over the past few months the developer has allowed Stradbroke Masonic Lodge to organise a series of guided tours and raise money for their charitable work.

Thousands of inquisitive people have already been shown what life was really like inside, with former prison officers acting as guides on tours of the prison site and the cell blocks. For most of the visitors, the most popular cell has been 116 – where Reggie Kray was imprisoned.

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But today and tomorrow, large numbers of people are expected to flock to Blundeston to have a final look around the former prison site before it is pulled down.

An open weekend is being held at the jail prior to demolition work starting in the next couple of weeks.

And ahead of this, photographer NICK BUTCHER was granted special access as the prison prepared to open its gates for a final time.

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