Prison service museum set to open on Portland

Dorset Echo: WITHIN THESE WALLS: John Hutton with some of the artefacts at the prison service museum on Portland WITHIN THESE WALLS: John Hutton with some of the artefacts at the prison service museum on Portland

A NEW museum is set to tell the history of a Portland prison.

Retired prison officer John Hutton, who worked at the Young Offender Institution for more than 20 years, has been working with friends to open a small exhibition at the governor’s house next to the prison.

It is hoped the museum will be up and running and open to the public by March next year.

Mr Hutton, who is originally from Cardiff, said: “I was transferred to Portland in 1991 and us old timers always used to say how nice it would be if there was some sort of museum.

“We have seen the prison change a lot over the years, and it’s changed even more from how it was originally. There was a room where things would get stored away, so when I retired it became a little project.”

The governor agreed to set aside two rooms for the museum and Mr Hutton set to work getting the exhibition ready.

He said: “We had some items donated but there were also things that were sat in storage gathering dust for 20 years.

“The rooms we are using used to be a visitors centre but we had to start from scratch really, painting and decorating and getting it all fit for purpose.”

Mr Hutton hopes to hold an opening ceremony for the attraction, which will be called the Grove Prison Museum, in March.

Among the items on display will be aerial photographs of the area, an old restraining jacket, a replica musket and mannequins showing how the prisoner and officer uniforms changed over the years.

Mr Hutton added: “There’s such a lot of history here and the YOI is a big part of Portland.”

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