Berkshire

Final public tour of Oscar Wilde-famed HMP Reading

Reading Prison Image copyright Marcus J Leith
Image caption Oscar Wilde was held at the prison between 1895 and 1897

HMP Reading has opened for a final public tour to celebrate the work of former inmate Oscar Wilde.

Wilde was a prisoner between 1895 and 1897 and wrote about his experience in his poem, The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Reading Prison was closed by the Ministry of Justice in 2013 and its fate has since remained uncertain.

The open day is featuring a reading of Oscar Wilde's De Profundis from Wilde's former prison cell, by Irish novelist Colm Tóibín.

Art charity Artangel, which organised the final opening, has called for the venue to remain as an arts venue.

The charity was behind The Inside: Artists and Writers in Reading Prison project, a temporary exhibition inside the Victorian building, which ran until December and included performances from actor Ralph Fiennes and singer Patti Smith.

The MoJ said it was unable to comment on the plans for the prison because it is the "purdah" period in the run up to the general election.

It had previously said it expected to submit a planning brief for approval by Reading Borough Council "during the latter half of 2017", which outlines a proposal to market it for sale as a residential development.

Image copyright Marcus J Leith
Image caption Reading Prison was closed by the Ministry of Justice in 2013 and its fate has since remained uncertain

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