Model of Prisoner

Contributed by Ruthin Gaol

There has been a prison on the Ruthin Gaol site since the seventeenth century. It is one of the most impressive buldings in North Wales and the only purpopse-built Pentonville style prison open to the public as a heritage attraction. Since its reopening in May 2002 after a two million pounds restoration project, people can spend time exploring its nooks and crannies and learn about life in the Victorian prison system.

The kitchens at the Gaol was where the bread would be baked daily. The main ingredient was oats - cheaper than wheat, and good enough for the prisoners! They also ate an oatmeal gruel. The making of the gruel and "scouce" (originally a Welsh stew) made with meat and potatoes was done by Trustees - prisoners who had shown good behaviour.

This a model of one of the prisoners - George. He stands in the main kitchens where the food preparation would have been done. George has an oat roller, like a rolling pin, but for crushing oats for the bread and gruel.

The recipe for the scouce calls for 1 part meat for every 9 of potatoes - so only 10% of your stew was meat - and probably not the best cuts either!

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