TIME travel might not be possible, but you could forgive me for thinking I had stepped back in time to the Victorian era as I embarked on a tour of HMP Gloucester.
The floors have lost their shine, the cells smell musty and weeds are growing between the cracks in the prison grounds.
But the overwhelming sense is a strong whiff of nostalgia for our tour guides, supervising officer Simon Thomas and custodial manager Jim Sweeney, who together notched up 35 years working at the institution.
Our first stop is the gymnasium. Compare this small, cold hall with that of the prison's gigantic chapel and you can soon appreciate that the Victorians felt religion would be good for the inmates.
Fast forward to recent years and prisoners were able to enjoy one hour of exercise in a nearby yard.
But even that was not without its dramas, recalls Jim. "People linked to drug gangs would try to get drugs into the prison by throwing things over the prison wall, which is why we put up overhead netting," he said.
Simon added: "I was on duty one time when a tennis ball landed in the yard. All of the prisoners went for it. It was like being at the Oval. All of these prisoners were having a scrum for the ball."
Prison life is often dubbed a bit of an easy ride these days with in-cell entertainment from the telly.
However, in reality, the cells are dark and tiny. I stretched out my arms and I could almost touch both walls. There's just a metal frame bunk bed and a sanitary unit.
The window is very small and they were place deliberately high up on the wall to stop prisoner's shouting out.
Simon said: "When the prisoner's hear that sound of the door clanging for the first time, that is when the bravado stops."
Anyone flouting the rules could find themselves in 'the box'. It's an even smaller room and there is nothing in it. Jim said: "We wouldn't keep them in here for very long but just long enough to calm them down."
Having said all of that, it is clear that there was a community within the prison.
Simon said: "We have almost been like substitute parents for some of the lads.
"I would see these lads a lot more than I would see my own wife so you learn to get along with each other.
"Some of them didn't want to leave. They had more on the inside than what they had on the outside."
But eventually the prisoners did leave – all of them. In March this year the jail was shut but the memories will live on for a long time.
"There are a tremendous amount of memories," said Simon. "It is sad what happened to it but I suppose you can't stand in the way of progress."
TOMORROW: Hangings and illustrious inmates.