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When you work within a prison each day, it’s difficult to envisage the building as anything else. But, there have been some prisons that have been turned from dilapidated buildings into hotels, museums and art galleries.

Some still bear witness to the lives of those once incarcerated there, whilst others hint at the building’s history. 

Here are five repurposed prisons that caught our eye:

Malmaison, Oxford

As a luxury hotel located in Oxford Castle Quarter, Malmaison Oxford is set in one of the oldest and now busiest spots in the city was a prison up until 1996. As a chain that specialises in turning historic buildings into boutique hotels, there’s no mistaking the former life of the building, especially as you walk to your room. 

Liberty Hotel Boston, Massachusetts

Having retained much of its historic structure, including the famed rotunda, Liberty Hotel Boston, which operated as Charles Street Jail until 1990, opened its doors as a luxury hotel in 2007. It hints at ‘spending time’; from the intricate detail in the carpets to the clockwork cogs within the windows. 

Alcatraz, San Francisco 

We couldn’t exclude one of the most famous former prisons, Alcatraz. Located on a 22 acre island overlooking San Francisco, it was used as a federal prison until 1963. Now it is a museum, and is host to many art exhibitions. 

Alcatraz Hotel, Germany

Bizarrely, Germany also has its very own Alcatraz; a former prison now turned hotel. Some of the 56 rooms have been kept very cell-like, including sinks and toilets within the bedroom area. The hotel also has a bar with bars.

Admiralty Gateway, HMP Peterhead, Scotland 

Our inspiration behind writing this piece is HMP Peterhead, which reopened its doors this year following its closure. It’s now home to the Peterhead Prison Museum, Historic Peterhead RNLI Lifeboat exhibit and Score Training.

It’s been reported that those behind the venture are encouraging visitors to discover what it was like for the personnel who worked at the prison, which was open from August 1888 until December 2013. 

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