Inveraray Jail is a living museum and top Scottish visitor attraction where real people portray life in a 19th century prison.
Interact with costumed characters, watch courtroom trials, talk to the prisoners, meet the Warder, go to jail and witness cell life, sample the punishments, browse the exhibition of prison artefacts, then make your escape.
Discover for yourself the array of punishments used to treat criminals before Inveraray Jail existed. For petty theft you could have been branded with a hot iron, had your ear nailed to a post or been publicly whipped. And although nagging is not a crime, there were even tongue holders which were used to punish nagging wives. More serious crimes were punishable by branding with a hot iron which left the victim with a scar that would identify him for the rest of his life. Thumbscrews were commonly used to extract confessions. The screws were slowly tightened, pressing down on the prisoners’ thumbs causing excruciating pain.
Step back almost two centuries, take your seat on the benches of this historic courtroom, and witness justice in action. Visitors to Inveraray Jail get the unique chance to eavesdrop on sensational trials held in this very room, and taste the tension and atmosphere before the sentence is passed. Over 6000 men women and children were sentenced in this room and they have prison records of every person who was imprisoned. To find out if any of your ancestors served time in Inveraray Jail, visit the prison records page.
The courtroom itself is spectacular, with its high roof and central podium for the Judge, but it is the superb life-like models and soundtrack that bring the court to life. Even for visitors who have been before it is sometimes impossible to tell who are visitors and who are not! The realistic soundtrack is based on the transcripts of real trials held in the courtroom. Listen to the court in action and decide for yourself if the accused is innocent or guilty!
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