History

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Construction on her Majesty’s Prison was started in 1855 and completed in 1857 following a fire that destroyed the old wooden building at the corner of Church and Albert Streets.

This new jail was now located facing the Caribbean Sea on Gabourel Lane. The structure was built with bricks, known as “London Stocks” brought from England and used as ballast on ships. The Institution was called “Her Majesty’s Prison”(HMP). Each window in the building marked where there was a cell originally built for one man. In 1910, because of an increase of inmates, the building was extended a further 30 feet.

Before 1857 all executions took place in public. Public hangings ceased with only floggings taking place up and down Albert and Regent Streets. Executions later on took place in the main corridor of HMP that now serves as the main entrance to the Museum of Belize. Several fires throughout the year continued until prison quarters were relocated to Hattieville.

In 1998, the Belize Government handed over the Old Prison to NICH and the Museum of Belize. For the next two years the old prison building was fully refurbished with the financial assistance from both Mexico and Taiwan. On February 7th, 2002, the Museum of Belize was officially declared open.
 

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