THE site of a former prison is being thrown open to the public to let people see the work being done to unearth the secrets of it's fascinating and gruesome past.

Northallerton prison, stood at the heart of the town for over 200 years and was once the home of the worlds largest treadmill, designed to ensure harsh punishment for the inmates. It's now being cleared as part of a major redevelopment and archaeologists have moved in to ensure crucial information about its past it not lost. Part of the work is to unearth the former gallows site. Over the decades the site's housed male and female adult prisoners, women with children, youth offenders, and military prisoners, it was was closed in 2013.

Two open days are being held at the site on September 16 and 30 from 10am to 4pm when members of the public will be able to go in and see it for themselves. Sturdy shoes are recommended.

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The work is being carried out through Hambleton district council which bought the site from the Home Office. Deputy council leader councillor Peter Wilkinson said: “The prison is already unearthing interesting finds, and being able to allow local people to have a look at what is being done is important. We want them to be part of this, and help shape the future.”