Berkshire

Reading Prison: Call for permanent arts centre at jail

Reading Prison Image copyright Marcus J Leith
Image caption Visitors were able to go on historical walking tours around the prison as well as taking a look at the art scattered around the

A Grade II-listed prison, once home to Oscar Wilde, should become a permanent arts centre, campaigners have said.

Reading Prison hosted a temporary exhibition inside the Victorian building, which included performances from actor Ralph Fiennes and singer Patti Smith.

More than 50,000 people have visited the site since it opened in September.

Artangel, which organised the project, said the venue should remain as an arts venue for future use.

'Kill for opportunity'

"It would make sense for a developer to make this building alive and make sure that it remains something that pulls people from far and wide", it said.

James Lingwood, Artangel's co-director, said: "I work in towns and cities across the world and many of them would kill for the kind of opportunity these sites offer.

"It will need imagination, investment and courage, but there is an opportunity for Reading here that I hope won't go missing."

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

The current exhibition is due to shut on 4 December.

Reading Borough Council said it hoped the Ministry of Justice would recognise the good use of the site.

The Ministry of Justice is yet to comment.

Image copyright Marcus J Leith
Image caption The project was organised by London arts organisation Artangel, in conjunction with the National Trust, which presenting tours around the prison
Image copyright Marcus J Leith
Image caption The exibition was extended a further two months due to its success

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