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The Oxford Castle Quarter

Next time you are going for a walk around Oxford town centre, make sure to include a trip to the Oxford Castle Quarter. Now is the perfect time to take in and admire the historic site, especially if you are a budding photographer or have an interest in architecture.

Or… You can take this “virtual” walk by scrolling through the images below:

From New Road head towards the Malmaison Oxford Hotel

The Malmaison Oxford Hotel was once HM Oxford Prison. The prison was modelled on Pentonville Prison and consisted of 150 cells. When the prison closed in 1996, up to 3 men were sharing a single cell. Now, 3 cells make for one hotel room.

Head to the left and you can see how other prison wings and buildings have been developed into other establishments.

The Oxford Castle Quarter was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006.

As you continue ahead, you can admire this outdoor gallery from local Oxfordshire artists.

Follow the building around and you’ll get to the Exercise Yard. Tucked behind a shrub garden is the entrance to the Punishment Cells. When prisoners were misbehaving they were brought to these damp and dark cells for added discipline.

Look to your left and you’ll see a door hidden amongst the bushes.

Looking out on to the exercise yard, you can appreciate the size of the prison ‘A’ Wing. The left hand corner of this block is where prisoners were hanged and executed.

On the opposite side of ‘A’ Wing is the Housing of Corrections. This is where petty criminals were housed, during the late 1700’s the Prison Governor lived here as well, this is so he could keep a watchful eye on the criminals.

Follow the pathway between ‘A’ Wing and ‘D’ Wing and you’ll come to the old prison wall. Behind the wall you can view the mound (the remains of the Motte and Bailey Oxford Castle).

Turn around to admire the Castleyard. Here you can see the Saxon St. Georges Tower and the connected ‘D’ Wing. You can discover the amazing 1,000 year history of the Castle Quarter on a guided tour of Oxford Castle & Prison.

Follow the path between the mound and the Malmaison Oxford Hotel to lead back to New Road. Under the building to the right was the Castle Ditch, during the excavations of the site in 2003, 64 human skeletons were uncovered here.

We hope you enjoyed this “virtual” photo trail of the Oxford Castle Quarter. We hope you come and visit soon for yourself!

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