Posted on April 8, 2020 at 10:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Plans to convert the prison where Oscar Wilde served time into an arts center have been scrapped.

The Ministry of Justice rejected the borough of Reading’s offer to buy the prison, which hasn’t served as a jail since 2014 and went up for sale last year, reports the Guardian.

Wilde was sent to HM Reading Prison, then known as Reading Gaol, on May 25, 1895, for gross indecency (specifically, sodomy), where he served two years.

He commemorated the prison, but not his specific time and crime, in an 1898 poem called “The Ballad of Reading Gaol.”

Prominent writers including Stephen Fry and Julian Barnes had supported the borough’s bid for the prison, though that apparently wasn’t enough to sway its owner.

You can read more of the politicking in the Guardian.

Categories: Today in Books

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