Her Majesty's Prison in Belize in the 1920's
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Thursday September 8, 2016

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This was probably taken between the reign (1936-1952) of King George. His Majesty's Prison is in the back, the other buildings were assembly for chow time and entertainment and kitchen/bakery.
Hector Silva: This picture was taken from behind the Prison. The flat building on the right served as Kitchen and Mess Hall for the staff, and the small houses served as Maid Quarters. - The Big building on the forefront were Prison Cells. and on the upstairs left was the feared gallows. When I served as Minister in 1968, there were only 174 inmates, including the vast majority who committed Petty Crimes. Then there was the floating population of about 25 that went out and came in, ( Tassa, Sugar, etc. )

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Her Majesty's Prison in Belize in the 1920's

The old Gaol built in 1826, on a site at the corner of Albert and Church Streets, opposite the Court House, was destroyed by fire 1854. If was a wooden structure surmounted by a clock-tower. It was replaced by the present substantial two storey brick building built in 1857 situated on Gabourel Lane facing the sea, surrounded by concrete walls enclosing approximately three acres of ground. It was the only real prison of the Colony and known as the Prison. Prior to 1885, this building had accommodation for 71 males and 6 female for a total of 77. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the prison population started to grow rapidly and the Goal Lane Prison was soon housing over 800 prisoners. The prison is now a museum.

The last person to be executed at Her Majesty's Prison was Kent Bowers in 1985.

The Heritage Bank building on Albert Street was the first Her Majesty's prison. It was set on fire then relocated to where Central Bank is. Of course Central Bank was not there at that time.

Hector Silva: At the old Prison Building where the Belize Museum is. in front of the Central Bank Building. - On the second Floor was an area where the Gallows ( hanging rope was, ) and a double gate was on the floor where the accused stood when the rope was placed on his neck. AT THE STRIKE Of 8.00 AM, the gates were opened and the body went down to the hanging DEN, where he hanged for ONE hour, until he was " DEAD, DEAD, DEAD " said the Judge.

For more on the Old Belize Gaol, click here!

Photographs courtesy Noel Escalante

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