As part of our bus tour, we toured the Old Stirling Jail, which was much like the tour that we did in the London Dungeon; though this tour was much less crowded and the actors were real actors and not eager high school students. It was worth every cent and was also incredibly informative. There is no better way to get to know a town’s history than by looking at the way it treats its outcasts.
For 400 years, Stirling’s prisoners were kept in the old Tollbooth Jail. It was a stinking, overcrowded, place. Death and disease were rife and the prison’s hangman, Jock Rankin, had the reputation of being a cruel man who happily took people’s lives.
During Victorian times there came pressure for improvement and prison reform and as part of this the town built Stirling Old Town Jail, which was opened in 1847. Designed by Thomas Brown, a staunch prison reformer, it opened as a County Jail and was used as both a public and military prison from 1888 until 1935.
On our tour we got to see the cells, witness a prison break, see instruments of torture, and from the top of the prison: a beautiful view of the town of Stirling.