It is Monday and we travel to Nottingham Bus station to pick up Rod and Kerry Hayes. They are on their way to Norway and are visiting for 4 days. As expected they step from the coach and we collect their luggage.
We have planned a tour of Nottingham and like most plans it gets changed. We walk to Upper Pavement into the Pitcher and Piano – a de sanctified church turned into a hotel. Lunch and a beer is on the menu. The hotel is a great use of a grand building.
Nearby is the Galleries of Justice. This is a museum in the old Town Hall where court rooms and a prison were once housed. In fact hangings were done on the front steps of the building. Inside the first thing confronting you is a gibbet. Hanging from the ceiling is an iron cage in the shape of a person. Once hung the body was placed in the gibbet for public display. On entering the museum you are given a convict number. From there you proceed into the court room with the orderly who tells you about the proceedings in the court circa 1780 and then down the stairs in the dock to the cells.
Inside the cells you find your number which informs you as to the crime you have committed and the sentence that has been passed upon you. In the cells you meet the warder. She would live on the site and work in this airless cell extorting money from the prisoners for food water and other necessities.
We then went through various cells to the Sheriff’s cells and into the exercise yard where a warder barked commands about the exercise you were to take otherwise you met the gallows, solitary confinement in the dark or were thrown into the pit where you were forgotten about unless your family came and paid for your release. But hang on my sentence was transportation. Initially this may have been to the American colonies but after the American War of Independence many prisoners were transported to Australia. So I was shown through a different door from which I was transported to a hulk on the Thames and later to Australia.
I was glad when we found our way out of there. We then strolled through the streets of Nottingham back to our car and home to Long Eaton to prepare for tomorrow.