H.M.P. Bullwood Hall

South Essex

Property Description

H.M.P. Bullwood Hall is a former women’s prison in Hockley, built in the 1960’s initially as a women’s borstal. The site was opened to house minors, although went on to hold female prisoners of any age. In 2002, six-part series ‘The Real Bad Girls’ aired on ITV. The series was filmed at Bullwood Hall and showed what life was like for the inmates, showing the prison in a positive light. Contrary to this, a prison report in 2005 heavily criticised the hygiene, staffing numbers and the “disturbingly high” numbers of suicide attempts which occurred every month. The following year is was announced that the prison would change to a Category C male prison. It also later became an immigration detention centre and could hold up to around 250 prisoners.

In 2013 it was announced that it would be one of 7 “old and uneconomic” prisons to close as part of cost-cutting plans. Less than 3 months later, the prison had shut for good. Whilst derelict and awaiting demolition, we were given access to film and photograph the site for one last time. The adjacent Bullwood Hall House was the governors residence and is locally listed meaning that it won’t be demolished, despite it being in a poor condition internally.

Also in the grounds of the prison were a greenhouse, sports pitch and a converted swimming pool.



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