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Colchester Castle prison cells receive high-tech refurbishment

Date issued: 22 August 2017

The historic prison cells at Colchester Castle have received a touch of modern technology to bring them to life for Castle visitors. The purpose of the project was to interpret the cells at the Castle in a dramatic way that brings to life the stories of some of the many thousands of people imprisoned in Colchester Castle.

Existing audio from the previous prison exhibition has been edited and synchronised with fantastic new footage filmed of the Colchester Town Guides taking on the roles of prisoners in the gaols.

The audio-visual focuses in particular on the experiences of the Colchester Martyrs who were imprisoned in the Castle for their religious views in the 1550s during the reign of Queen Mary. Their fate was to be burnt at the stake as heretics. It also focuses on Rebecca West, a teenage girl who was interrogated in 1645 by Matthew Hopkins, the notorious Witchfinder General.

Councillor Tim Young, Portfolio Holder for Business and Culture, said: "This fantastic project ensures that visitors are able to immerse themselves within the history of both the Castle and its surroundings. The use of cutting-edge technology within these ancient prison cells helps to ensure that more of Colchester Castle's spectacular history can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages for generations to come."

The atmospheric finished film shows the prisoners moving in silhouette against the walls of the prison cells, their story being narrated by the Castle gaoler.