Former prisoners tell their stories for new web archive

The archive includes videos of former prisoners, relatives, lawyers, guards and chaplains
The archive includes videos of former prisoners, relatives, lawyers, guards and chaplains

Ex-prisoners including Gerry Kelly and Billy Hutchinson have contributed to a new archive compiled by Queen’s University detailing life in the Maze and Long Kesh during the Troubles.

The archive of 175 videos includes interviews with 24 people with a connection to the prison including former prisoners, relatives, lawyers, guards and chaplains.

Loyalist inmates David and William Stitt provide an hour’s worth of commentary as they revisit the Maze where they were transferred in 1994 after what David describes as “wrecking” Crumlin Road Gaol.

He went on to say that the Maze was like a “hotel” compared to Crumlin Road where he said the guards engaged prisoners in “psychological warfare”.

Lawyer Kevin Winters shares his memories of the Maze as he revisits the consultation rooms where he met his first loyalist clients, having up until then dealt mostly with people from the republican community. He described the booths as “neutral territory”.

The Prison Memory Archive has also produced a documentary film for libraries and learning institutions called Inside Stories. In it former republican inmate Gerry Kelly and loyalist prisoner Billy Hutchinson tell their stories.

Unlike all the other interviews, this documentary is not available to view on the website.

The Visual Voices of the Prison Memory Archive project is launched today by Queen’s University in partnership with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), and the Prison Memory Archive (PMA) Management Group.