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The Cell Block exhibition launch at The Peace Museum


Sarah Bartey


01274 780241




August 29, 2018

The cell block

A temporary exhibition from English Heritage revealing the untold stories of the Richmond Castle cell block graffiti. Opening at The Peace Museum from Saturday 8th September until Friday 26th October 2018.

The Peace Museum is pleased to announce it will host a new, travelling exhibition by English Heritage. The Cell Block exhibition enables visitors to digitally explore the 19th century cell block at Richmond Castle and uncover some of the fascinating stories of the many men and women who left their mark through the thousands of graffiti that covers the walls. The graffiti ranges from delicate portraits to bold political and religious statements; pastoral scenes to regimental numbers. These often intricate drawings and profound statements provide an extraordinary insight into the lives of those who were incarcerated or stationed at Richmond Castle across approximately 100 years, during the 19th and 20th century.

Much of the graffiti was drawn by conscientious objectors who were imprisoned at the castle during the First World War for refusing to participate in the war effort on moral, political or religious grounds. Included among these men were the conscientious objectors known as the Richmond Sixteen who were transported to France in May 1916 and sentenced to death - a sentence later commuted to ten years' hard labour - for refusing to obey military orders.

This interactive and thought provoking exhibition enables visitors to walk through the cells in English Heritage's bespoke digital model, learn about the graffiti's conservation and record their own messages on the graffiti wall.

The Cell Block exhibition forms part of a Heritage Lottery funded project to conserve the graffiti and uncover the hundreds of untold stories behind the inscriptions.

The Peace Museum is hosting a special launch event to celebrate the opening of the exhibition from 11 am - 3 pm on Saturday 8th September at The Peace Museum premises in Piece Hall Yard, Bradford. Entrance is free, all are welcome to attend. Please note the museum is up some 60 steps with no lift.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Sarah Bartey on 01274 780241 or email at

Notes to the editor:

The Peace Museum occupies three small, unique galleries in one of Bradford's many fine Victorian buildings. It is the only accredited museum of its kind in the UK and is a member of the International Network of Museums for Peace. The Peace Museum tells the stories of those who have campaigned for peace and end to conflict and violence, locally, nationally and internationally, through a 7000 item collection. The Museum is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 10 am till 4 pm. Other times may be possible with prior arrangement.

The Richmond Castle Cell Block Project English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund are working together to conserve the 19th-century cell block at Richmond Castle, helping to provide a stable environment for the long term preservation of the graffiti etched onto its walls. Working within the local community the project will research and explore the incredible archive of personal experience inscribed on the building. Richmond Castle: Cell Block is a £550,000 investment to investigate, identify and resolve the risks facing the building and its graffiti. Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project is working with local volunteers to research over 2,000 graffiti inscriptions to build a picture of who was in the building and why. The project is developing educational resources for local schools and prompting discussion around historical themes linked to the building. Participants have helped to write interpretation for the English Heritage website and helped to create a travelling exhibition based around the graffiti stories. Young people have engaged with conservation work and responded to the graffiti and its stories through music, film and performance art.

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