HM Prison Friarton
Tucked away on the outskirts of Perth, Scotland once stood a small but noteworthy institution – HM Prison Friarton. Though its buildings have long since been demolished and its detainees moved elsewhere, Friarton’s history remains an important part of Scotland’s justice system and the story of Perth.
From Treating Fevers to Detaining Youth
The grounds that became HM Prison Friarton have a medical history stretching back over a century. Friarton Fever Hospital was established on the site in the 1800s, designed by acclaimed local architects J. & G. Young. After treating patients for many decades, the hospital eventually closed down. In 1963, the vacant facility took on a new purpose as a detention center for young offenders.
A New Center is Born
HM Prison Friarton officially opened that year as one of only two detention facilities in Scotland catering to male offenders aged 16 to 21, aiming to house those who could not fit within the confinement of South Inch House. Run by the prison system, Friarton operated as a youth detention center for its first four years.
Shifting Roles Over the Years
In 1967, Friarton underwent its first transition when it was re-purposed as a Borstal institution following expansions to South Inch House. Just three years after that, Friarton would take on yet another new role as a young offenders institution. These new responsibilities reflected evolving ideas on rehabilitation and justice for youth in Scotland.
Closed Down But Not Forgotten
While HM Prison Friarton no longer stands today having been demolished over 20 years ago, its impact and history have not diminished.
Walls Come Crumbling Down
In 1999, major changes came to Friarton when its aging buildings were scheduled for demolition. With the land slated for a new housing development, the prison’s detainees and operations were merged into HM Prison Perth, located just over a mile away on Edinburgh Road. This marked the end of Friarton’s distinct site.
An Anti-Climactic End
Ironically, the merged facilities housing Friarton’s young offenders within HM Prison Perth were closed just 11 years later in 2010. The unit was supposedly underused and lacking updated amenities – an anti-climactic end to a facility that had weathered various shifts in purpose over 45 years of operation.
Today, we can look back at Friarton as filling an important role in reforming and rehabilitating young offenders during its tenure. We can also appreciate the architectural significance of its 19th century fever hospital origins. For the city of Perth, the prison remains a curious piece of local history.
HM Prison Friarton may no longer stand, but its complex history and impact on Scotland’s justice system make it a site not easily forgotten. The young offenders who passed through embody the ever-evolving nature of reform. Next time you pass its former location beyond Friarton Island, consider all that happened behind those now vanished walls.
- What years was HM Prison Friarton operational? Friarton operated from 1963 to 1999, when it was merged into HM Prison Perth.
- How many different roles did it serve over the years? Friarton served as a youth detention center, a Borstal institution, and finally a young offenders institution – three distinct roles over its lifetime.
- Why were the original buildings closed and demolished? The aging facilities were slated for closure in 1999 to make way for a new housing development on the land. Operations were shifted to HM Prison Perth instead.
- How long did Friarton’s facilities within HM Prison Perth stay open? Less than 15 years. The merged facilities were closed in 2010 due to being underused and lacking updated amenities.
- What was the site originally used for prior to becoming a detention center? Friarton opened on the site of the former Friarton Fever Hospital, which housed and treated patients in the 19th century. The original buildings that became Friarton were designed by acclaimed local architects J. & G. Young.