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People & Characters

Evocative characters detailing our social history through the photographs in the archive.

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Caption for Princetown, Dartmoor Prison Gate & Convicts 1890: Dartmoor Prison at Princetown was built in 1806, initially to house French prisoners of war. Its closure in 1816 saw Princetown virtually abandoned, but the arrival of a railway for the granite quarries in 1823 brought salvation. The prison re-opened in 1850 and has since housed some of our most hardened criminals.

Memories of Princetown

My father was stationed at Princetown as a prison officer during the war, having transferred from the Isle of Wight (Parkhurst). So you can imagine that in 1941, coming from the heavy aerial warfare over Southern England to the remoteness of Dartmoor was quite a change and although I was only 5, I recall that move very (...Read full memory)

I remember living in Princetown in Woodville Close, my dad worked at the prison, Paddy O'Neill. I started school in Princetown and don't have many good memories of the school, in fact on my first day I walked out and went home at morning playtime and was dragged back through the village by my mum. I really did not like (...Read full memory)

My family lived here from 1972-77, as my father was an officer in the prison. We lived next to the then working dairy at Tor View. The village had escorted prisoners all over the village, and the farms and quarries were all in full operation, we even played football in the car park with the cons, during (...Read full memory)

On the 12th June 1941 I was born in the Duchy Hotel as my father was then a serving Prison Officer. As I was so young I don't remember the early years of my life, but Princetown and the Duchy Hotel have been part of my life, and I have been back many times. I can remember returning to the Duchy with my family one (...Read full memory)

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