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Ku Klux Klan museum owner wants to take over Gloucester Prison

By The Citizen  |  Posted: September 25, 2013

  • BEHIND BARS: Left, Andy Jones on his tour of Gloucester Prison, which he is hoping to buy. Above, at the entrance to the old jail.

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IN need of modernisation. Room for 321 guests – if they're prepared to share cramped rooms. Several thousand not very careful previous occupants. And no views.

It might not sound like the most appealing of estate agent brochures but it's not enough to put Andy Jones off pursuing the purchase of Gloucester Prison.

The 51-year-old finally had a long-awaited viewing of his ideal des-res at the weekend by hopping on to one of the extra tours arranged after demand to see the jail's interior went through the roof.

Andy is the owner of the opinion-dividing Littledean Jail – home to an array of crime memorabilia, including Ku Klux Klan suits and a cushion stitched by Rose West in her prison cell.

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But he said his mission for Gloucester Prison, if he is able to go through with taking it on, would be a little less controversial.

"It was amazing to get inside and see it – the wow factor is definitely there," he said.

"I'm still interested but I want it to be more like a museum, to set it up how the prison was when it was open, for people to really get a feel of it.

"Littledean Jail is controversial, we know that, but this would be nothing like what I do there. I think it should remain as a lasting historical monument."

But Andy does have concerns. "The building is a potentially enormous liability," he said.

"We were walking round and they were showing us the flood markings from 1947. They were 5ft up the walls. That's a worry. There are bodies buried there too and the cost of dealing with that would be enormous.

"There's a lot of work to do and it's a big liability for anyone to take on."

About 122 bodies of dead prisoners lie under the jail and heritage experts warn they will need to be excavated before any redevelopment can take place.

Despite all that, Andy remains determined to push on with his vision for the famous site.

"I couldn't do it on my own," he said. "But I've met with Gloucester City Council and I'm planning on meeting with the county council about it."

The prison, built in 1789, closed at the end of March.

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