Prison visit for Probus Club

Peterhead Prison
Peterhead Prison

Ellon Probus members enjoyed a memorable trip to Peterhead Prison Museum last week

The trip was organised by Colin Grant.

Graham Findlay of the museum set the group up with a detailed itinerary and the tour was conducted by the informative guide Alex Geddes, whose father had worked at the prison.

The highlight of the visit was talking to Jackie Stuart a sprightly and funny 87-year-old who in 1987 had been held hostage for four days when some of the nastiest prisoners in the country had rioted and threatened to kill Jackie.

He was stabbed no less than three times during his ordeal before being rescued by an elite 20 man SAS team.

Members noted that this would leave most of them scarred for life – not Jackie.

He has said it had been his wife’s Birthday and he had forgotten to buy her a card so he was probably safer with the prisoners than he would have been at home! What a sense of humour!

The prison itself is fascinating.

Most of it is 1888 vintage, solid Peterhead granite.

The main halls are surprisingly light and airy but as Alex Geddes said, noticeably less so in the depths of a Peterhead winter day.

The cells however give you a clear sense of incarceration even with the doors open. Deprivation of liberty it definitely was.

The prison only closed about four years ago so it still gives you a clear idea of how hard and difficult prison life was for both the prisoners and the warders.

It is an education in an aspect of real life not experienced by the bulk of the British public.

Members said that the museum was well worth a visit.

Ellon Probus Club welcomed Brian Callaghan of the Search and Rescue Dog Association of Scotland (SARDA) to their recent meeting, read all about it in next week’s Times.