HM Prison Manchester – often called ‘Strangeways’ – is a high-security men’s jail operated by the Prison Service. It is a local prison holding inmates remanded into custody from neighbouring courts and category A offenders. There are nine wings in two blocks, with a total capacity of 1,269. The prison was rebuilt in the nineties following a series of riots, and a report in 2017 described it as vermin-infested and reminiscent of Dickensian England.
Manchester Prison History
Strangeways Prison opened in 1868 to replace the New Bailey Prison in Salford. It was built on the site of Strangeways Park and Gardens, after which it was named. The prison was designed by Alfred Waterhouse with an imposing design including a prominent ventilation tower. It cost £170,000 to build and had a capacity of 1,000. Its walls are said to be 16ft thick and impenetrable from inside or out.
Strangeways Riots of 1990
In April 1990, 147 staff and 47 prisoners were injured during a series of riots at Strangeways Prison. One inmate and one prison officer died and much of the prison was damaged or destroyed. The riots were followed by the Woolf Inquiry and the jail was rebuilt and renamed HM Prison Manchester at a cost of £80 million.