Help the Old Prison by Completing a Questionnaire

Message from Simon Randall about the Old Prison.

I hope you will forgive this email out of the blue. I am Chairman of the Friends of the Cotswolds which owns the Old Prison. We are applying for a Heritage Lottery Grant to develop a 21st Gallery to house the rural life collection and interpret both the collection, the prison buildings and showcase the Cotswolds in general. As part of our application we really need to hear from anyone familiar with the complex with their views on what we should provide there and what would make them become regular visitors. Accordingly I am attaching to this message a relatively simple questionnaire seeking your views and it would be much appreciated if you could complete it online and return it to me as soon as possible. As an incentive everyone completing the document will be eligible to enter a draw for a £100 shopping voucher.

Meanwhile if you have any queries please do not hesitate to let me know.

Kind regards,
Simon Randall

Direct link to the online survey:

Or complete and return this Word of PDF version (instructions on form):



Job Vacancy – House Manager, The Old Prison, Northleach.

Cotswolds AONB logoHouse Manager
The Old Prison, Northleach.
£25,384 – £27,063

The Cotswolds Conservation Board is developing the facilities and visitor offer at The Old Prison in Northleach.

The Cotswolds Conservation Board and Friends of the Cotswolds charity are creating a vibrant visitor centre at The Old Prison site focusing on the understanding, appreciation and active enjoyment of the Cotswolds and its distinctive features. As part of the development, which will include a café facility, we are looking to recruit a House Manager to oversee the daily operation and develop events programmes and associated revenue streams.

This is an exciting opportunity to work in a wonderful area of the country with the rare chance to contribute to the set up of a completely new café operation, significant events programme and the challenge to run the complete facilities service for a small visitor attraction and the Conservation Board’s offices.

A “hands on” role dealing with all the operational activities on-site but also requiring a significant level of planning, development and sales. The successful candidate will work closely with the Director, Board staff and members, trustees of the Friends of Cotswolds charity, volunteers and the local community to complete their duties.

Find out more….


New owners receive the keys to the Old Prison, Northleach

Press release from Cotswolds Conservation Board

Local environmental charity, Friends of the Cotswolds has formally received the keys to the Old Prison from Cotswold District Council in an official handover of ownership which took place yesterday.

The Old Prison at Northleach, formerly owned by Cotswold District Council, is now under the ownership of the Friends of the Cotswolds following the completion of the purchase of the site on 18th July. Plans to fully realise the site as a vibrant visitor centre and historic asset for the local community can now be developed, including the appointment of a new house manager, the reinstatement of the cafe and the submission of an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Chairman of the Friends of the Cotswolds, Simon Randall, is overjoyed at becoming the new owner of this important heritage building: “A great deal of work and effort has gone in to making this a reality. I am extremely grateful to everyone who has supported us over the last couple of years and in particular to our many volunteers who have helped with organising events and fundraising events. We certainly couldn’t have done it without their help. We are now looking forward to an exciting future ahead.”

Cllr Barry Dare of Cotswold District Council said: ““I am very pleased that this group of locally-based people has come forward to take ownership of the Old Prison because this will ensure that its future is in good hands – in particular, the public will be able to access the renowned Lloyd Baker collection of artifacts which is of great significance to our local heritage. From a taxpayer’s perspective, it was no longer viable for Cotswold District Council to maintain the building, and this solution paves the way to the creation of a superb resource which will benefit the local community.”

The 18th century building currently houses the Escape to the Cotswolds visitor centre and the unique Rural Life Collection. As well as conserving and improving access to, and interpretation of, the Old Prison and the Rural Life Collection, plans for the site will enable the development of a central hub for the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Notes to editors:

  • The Friends of the Cotswolds is a charity started in 2007 whose purpose is to conserve and enhance the Cotswolds whilst raising awareness of our natural environment and provide activities and facilities for visitors and people living and working in the Cotswolds. Visit:
  • The Northleach House of Correction is one of four houses of correction built in Gloucestershire in the 1790’s to the design of the then High Sheriff, Sir George Onesiphorus Paul. Paul was the inspiration and driving force behind the reorganisation of Gloucestershire’s prison system, the first such scheme of its kind in the country. Today the keeper’s house, female cells and police station along with the front façade and perimeter wall all survive, as does the court room.
  • The ‘Escape to the Cotswolds’ visitor centre tells the story of the Cotswolds landscape and is open between April and October, Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm.
    The Rural Life Collection is a personal collection of agricultural and rural history by Miss Olive Lloyd-Baker who was born in 1902 to a distinguished Gloucestershire family. When she died in 1975 the “Lloyd-Baker Collection” was accepted by HM Treasury in lieu of estate duties and its ownership transferred to Cotswold District Council. Since the 1980’s further additions to the collection were made by generous donations from local people, once it was housed at Northleach. At the heart of the collection are 23 farm wagons and carts, with regional and national significance as locally-distinctive examples.
  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1966 in recognition of its rich, diverse and high quality landscape.
    The Cotswolds AONB is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation established in 2004 which has 37 members – 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by the Secretary of State.
  • The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), along with National Parks, are considered to be the most special landscapes in the country and belong to an international family of protected areas. There are 38 AONBs in England and Wales, and a further eight in Northern Ireland. For further details, visit: For details of the 15 National Parks in England and Wales visit:

Cotswolds Conservation Board, Fosse Way, Northleach, Gloucestershire GL54 3JH
Tel: 01451 862000 Website:

Get Into Jail Free!

Following the exciting and long-awaited news that local charity the Friends of the Cotswolds are the preferred bidder by Cotswold District Council to take ownership of the Old Prison building and site at Northleach, an open event to “show the potential” is being organised for local residents and supporters on Sunday 12 August.

The event, which will take place between 1.30pm and 4pm, will provide a unique opportunity to view parts of the site not normally open to the general public such as the Old Police Station.  As well as being able to enjoy a full guided tour of the site, including the original female cell block, the courtroom, the Rural Life Collection, the Escape to the Cotswolds discovery centre, plus other exhibits including the Gloucestershire Geology Trust Roadshow.

Visitors on the day will also have the opportunity to hear from representatives from the Friends of the Cotswolds, Northleach with Eastington Town Council and the Cotswolds Conservation Board on their proposed vision for the future of the site. Guests will be welcome to make suggestions and are especially  asked to bring any memories and anecdotes about the Old Prison site before it closed in the 1970s.

Chairman of the Friends of the Cotswolds, Simon Randall is keen to demonstrate their commitment to conserving the heritage of the building for the future: “During the past year, we have been immensely encouraged by the amount of support we have received from local people and visitors in our bid to save this wonderful site for the future enjoyment of many people.  We are now looking forward to meeting many of them next month as we share our future plans and listen to their ideas and hear about their memories of the Old Prison site. I’m sure it will be a very interesting day all round”

The event will start at 1.30pm and finish at 4pm on Sunday 12 August.  For further details, contact the Cotswolds Conservation Board on 01451 862000.