HM Prison Finnamore Wood

HMYOI Finnamore Wood, formerly known as HMYCC Finnamore Wood or Finnamore Wood Borstal, was an open prison located 1km North of the town of Marlow, Buckinghamshire, England. The prison was operated by Her Majesty’s Prison Service.

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HMYOI Finnamore Wood
Location Marlow, Buckinghamshire
Security class Young offenders Institution
Capacity 116
Opened 1961
Closed 1996
Former name Finnamore Wood Borstal
Managed by HM Prison Service
Governor David Wilson 1986–1988

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HMYOI Finnamore Wood was opened in 1961 as a Buckinghamshire open prison for young offenders (18- to 21-year-old males) serving their last 2–3 months before release. The camp was opened as a satellite camp for Feltham Borstal and later used as an annexe to HM Prison Huntercombe. The size and role of the camp meant that it was governed on a day-to-day basis by an Assistant Governor who lived on site in the Governor’s Quarter.

Situated in one of the most rural areas of Marlow, Buckinghamshire on the site of the former Evacuation Camp, and known as ‘Finnamore Wood Holiday & Evacuation Camp’, he site was used for housing evacuees from Beal Modern Girls’ School along with refugees during the Second World War.

In 1948 the camp was used to house members of the American Canoe team who used Marlow Rowing Club as a training base for their Olympic Rowers.

Shortly after, the site was used again as a holiday camp during the 1950s, owned by a company named National Camps Corporation. It was bought by the Home Office in 1960.

When the camp closed in 1996, all inmates were transferred to Huntercombe YOI near Henley on Thames, which is still operational as a prison. The institute had been threatened with closure six years earlier in 1990 but the Home Office decided to keep it open.

David Wilson (criminologist) was the Assistant Governor at Finnamore Wood Borstal between 1986 and 1988 and is now Professor Emeritus of Criminology at Birmingham City University.

Sourced from Redbridge Local Studies – Demonstrating Evacuees Arriving at Finnamore Wood 1940

Finnamore Wood was the site of the first of the government’s elementary camp schools built under the Camps Act which was passed in April 1939. A further 30 constructed camps followed. The Act prompted the creation of the National Camps Corporation to oversee these camps.

On 22 April 1940 some pupils from Beal Modern Girls’ School arrived at their wartime evacuation school, Finnamore Wood Camp. Many girls spent nearly four years at Finnamore Wood before it was safe to return to London.[citation needed]

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