Richard Felix took his first breath in 1946 in Stanley. When he was young mysterious things in life intrigued him. On reaching adulthood he researched many paranormal things. Some may know him from the work he did on “Most Haunted”. Mr. Felix was soon drawn to establish the Heritage Centre in 1992 thus he began his ‘mystery parties’ and then he moved on to the ghost walks around Derby Gaol.
Before Derby Gaol was built the criminals were taken to Nottingham castle, the closest thing to a gaol at the time. It served Derbyshire and Nottingham shire areas. The gaol was built in Derby across from Derby's Corn market and right along the side of Markeaton Brook, this area served as Derby’s main sewer as well.
The dampness and foul air that crept along and flowed throughout the Derby Gaol might have lent a hand in many of the prisoners becoming ill. Many diseases here would have been due to the cells being so close to the sewer system. I can only imagine what it was like being down in those cells and those gaols probably didn’t have the best light so it would have been very dark, gloomy and smelly.
There were a lot of crimes committed from 1730 to 1832. There were about 260 crimes that took place on the streets of the town. This time was known as the ‘Bloody Code’ because of the many people being thrown into gaol for the smallest offences such as having a dirty face, having soot on their cheeks. This time period it was very hard. Wages at the time for those lucky enough to have jobs were meagre, so many took to stealing just to get by. Some of these offences carried the death penalty, due to the rigid laws at that time. The Derby Gaol survived for nearly two hundred years before the town council decided to build another one and this time away from the city centre.
The cries of the prisoners who felt they were unjustly sent there might still linger there today, just like they were heard back then so long ago. A person can feel the energy from the place, the darken shadows beckoning out like long icy fingers reaching through time. The air heavy with a dank smell seems to linger there, the energy of the place seems be listening to far away echo.
The folks who have entered the Derby Gaol late at night on what is known as the ‘Ghost Walks’ will often say they feel something there, especially when they walk further down towards the cells. The sounds of past energies that cried out in anguish many years ago might be what they sense. Some are so afraid that one time through is enough and they never return to the Derby Gaol again. They leave the dankness behind, all the energy of what was and they might step into a new awareness of what was once and how certain places hold mysterious energies.