VISITORS to a 19th Century prison are being invited to experience what it meant to be locked up in a small cell.

As part of Ripon’s Museums' free Heritage Open Day on Sunday, October 14, visitors to the city's Police and Prison Museum will also come ace to face with gruesome historic punishments, see how policing has changed through time and some of the gruelling jobs that Victorian prisoners faced.

At the nearby Courthouse Museum, the long-forgotten holding cell will be opened to show where those on trial awaited their fate.

At the Workhouse Museum, in Allhallowgate, where many poor Victorian families turned to when there was nowhere else to go, visitors will hear the stories of those in poverty, explore the echoing corridors and vagrant night cells and meet costumed inmates.

Sue Dalton, head of museums said the 'locked up' theme for event, from 11am to 4pm, had been chosen to spark the imagination of visitors of all ages, giving them a taste of the horrible side of history.

She added: “Heritage open days are a fun opportunity to get out and explore some of the country’s most treasured historic sites.

"This is a great opportunity to see spaces which are normally closed to the public."

For details, visit or call 01765-690799.