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The Provost Prison, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape

Provost Prison, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape

Would you like to experience what it was like to sleep behind bars in the 1800’s? The provost prison was built for military offenders and the design was supposed to give the wardens continuous visual observance of the inmates, most of whom were deserters. It consisted of an outer circle of cells complete with exercise yards which surrounded a two-storey guardhouse, and since each cell adjoined a small exercise yard, the prisoners seldom had need to leave their cells.

In 1937, the Old Provost Prison was declared a national monument and was restored by the Cape Provincial Administration before being handed over to the Albany Museum in 1982. The prison still has a very authentic feel – though it is unlikely that any drastic punishments were ever metered out here.

If you want to get a strong feel for prison life in the Cape during the 19th century, you might consider visiting during the Grahamstown National Arts Festival when the cells in Grahamstown’s Old Provost Prison are let out as a form of accommodation.

Lucas Avenue, Grahamstown: Tel : (046) 622 2312

More info on the town of Grahamstown More info on the Frontier Country area