It's been known over the years by many names The Bar-L, Bar Hell, Glasgow's Alcatraz, the Big Hoose, or simply HMP Barlinnie.

Previous occupants of this famous imposing Victorian landmark include political activist Tommy Sheridan, ex-Rangers striker Duncan Ferguson, former world boxing champion Scott Harrison and Dragons' Den star Duncan Bannatyne.

Scotland's biggest jail situated in the Riddrie area of the city hasn't changed much since Queen Victoria was on the throne.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

With a reputation as tough as San Francisco's notorious former Alcatraz prison, it has never been far from controversy and notoriety.

Barlinnie's most high profile prisoner was the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi. It's most infamous was serial killer Peter Manuel, from the village of Birkenshaw in Lanarkshire, executed 62 years ago for the murders of seven people.

Notorious gangland figures Arthur Thompson, Paul Ferris, and Walter Norval, have all spent time behind the jail's intimidating blackened sandstone walls.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

After years of neglect, it is expected to finally close its doors in 2025, once a new £100 million replacement is completed.

Ironically Barlinnie was hailed as a revolution in prisoner rehabilitation when it was opened in 1882.

Inmates were given their own cells for the first time and offered classes in baking, blacksmithing and shoemaking.

However in May this year HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland, Wendy Sinclair-Gieben said the jail was "no longer fit for purpose" after discovering rats in the grounds and cells which had been condemned 25 years ago.

Just as shocking was the 1,489 inmates she found incarcerated, almost 50 percent more than Barlinnie was designed to hold.

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In 2017 it featured in a grim documentary by former EastEnders star Ross Kemp, who having spent a week inside one of its cells, said: "It's a tough place. It's a violent place. People have been killed in there."

One of the first inmates in the shiny new jail 138 years ago was 11-year-old schoolboy James Donaghy.

Another early prisoner was petty thief Adam Sloan who at 7ft 7in is Barlinnie's tallest ever prisoner.

The jail's first celebrity inmate was Charging Thunder, a Native American and star of legendary Buffalo Bill's popular Wild West Show.

Thunder was given 30 days in 1891 after attacking the show's manager for selling valuable artifacts to the Kelvingrove Museum.

Former Dragons' Den star Duncan Bannatyne was given ten days in the 1970s for failure to pay a £10 court fine.

Duncan Ferguson, who went on to play for Everton and Newcastle, served 44 days of a three-month sentence for headbutting a Raith Rovers player in 1994.

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In 2011 ex Scottish Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan was sent to the Barlinnie to serve a three-year term for perjury.

Former world featherweight boxing champion Scott Harrison was the prison's most recent high profile resident.

He was released in June 2018 having completed a four-year term imposed in Spain for attacking three men in Malaga.

The first person to make a successful escape from Barlinnie was armed robber John Dobbie who fled in a prison laundry van in 1985 only to be recaptured five days later.

READ MORE: Glasgow crime stories: Arthur Thompson

Author and former Herald & Times group managing editor Bob Jeffrey wrote a best seller on Barlinnie nine years ago.

He says the jail should be turned into a museum and believes it could become a money-spinning tourist attraction like Alcatraz.

Bob said: "I've been to Alcatraz in San Francisco Bat and it attracts 1.4million visitors a year.

"There is no reason why Barlinnie couldn't be just as successful.

"People would love to see the cells where all the famous prisoners were kept as they can at Alcatraz.

"In many ways, Barlinnie is just as famous as Edinburgh Castle with the same fascinating history.

"You could also use former prisoners too show visitors round as they do at Alcatraz."

Last month (September) it was announced that the remains of those executed at Barlinnie are to be exhumed before the jail is demolished.

Ten men were hanged there in a 15 year period after the end of the Second World War.

Peter Manuel was executed on July 11, 1958, the second last person to be hanged there, after he was convicted of murdering six women and one man over a period of two years in the Glasgow and Lanarkshire areas.

READ MORE: Glasgow crime stories: lawyer Joe Beltrami

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The last man hanged was 19-year-old first offender Anthony Miller, who died on December 22, 1960 for killing a gay man in a robbery, despite a 30,000-name petition appealing for clemency However the gallows, where all ten died, weren't demolished until 1997.

In 1973 Barlinnie found a more human way of dealing with Scotland's hard men by opening its controversial Special Unit.

VIP treatment was given to Scotland's most violent prisoners who were allowed to wear their own clothes, listen to music in their cells, and open visiting.

Attempts were made to rehabilitate them through art, literature, and drama until the unit closed in 1995.

The special unit's most famous and successful member was murderer turned sculptor and novelist Jimmy Boyle.

Boyle, who was jailed for life in 1967 for murdering William 'Babs' Rooney, had previously attacked prison officers and staged dirty protests at various jails across Scotland.

Despite the success of the unit tensions rose in Barlinnie in the late 1980s over claims of brutality by prison officers, overcrowding, and poor food.

READ MORE: Philip Wong murder 35 years on: Cops appeal over businessman who was hacked to death in the city centre

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On Sunday, January 6, 1987, fifty prisoners from "B" hall staged a riot in which large sections of the jail were destroyed or set on fire and three prison officers taken hostage.

In shocking scenes shown across the world one prison officer warder was paraded on the prison roof with a knife held to his throat.

One enduring image was of two rioters two rioters standing on chimney pots with their arms outstretched in a crucifix pose.

Trained police negotiators ended the siege five days later - the longest in Scottish prison history - after promises were made to improve conditions.

The riot led to a more relaxed regime with prisoners eventually allowed TV's in their cells and access to telephones.

Glaswegian Charles Campbell worked for 15 years as a prison officer at Barlinnie before retiring on ill health in 2004.

Charles, now 61, had previously served for ten years in the Queens Own Highlanders in trouble spots like Northern Ireland and the Falklands.

One thing that the army didn't prepare him for was the overpowering smell that pervaded Barlinnie at the time, particularly during slopping out.

Charles said:" Even though I've been retired now for 16 years I can still feel and taste that smell.

"Every morning at 6:15am you had 300 men standing with plastic containers of urine and excrement from the night before.

"It was degrading for both them and the staff and the stink was unimaginable.

"Even when I left in 2004 most of the prison was still slopping out as very few of the cells had flushing toilets.

"Any time I brought visitors to Barlinnie the first thing they would always notice was the smell left by the slopping out."

Charles says that many of the prisoners would wrap their excrement in toilet paper and then throw it out of their cell window into the exercise yard - called bombs.

Teams of prisoners then had to be sent out each day to clear the mess up.

READ MORE: Glasgow crime stories: Philip Wong

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In 2001 Barlinnie was back on the world's stage with the arrival in 2001 by helicopter of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, which killed 270 people.

Megrahi was provided with extra amenities and a £1.5million purpose-built cell, dubbed Gaddafi's Café.

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Nelson Mandela came to the prison in 2002 to visit Megrahi, describing his imprisonment in Barlinnie as psychological persecution.

Megrahi was later moved to Greenock prison in 2005, before being sent home to Libya in 2009 on compassionate grounds with terminal cancer.

However Barlinnie like many of it's inmates is living on borrowed time.

Glasgow Times:

Glasgow Times:

Planning permission was granted by Glasgow City Council last month (September) for a brand new prison for 1200 inmates near the famous Provan Gas Works in neighbouring Blackhill.

Construction is expected to begin in about a year's time once funding is in place.

Mr Jeffrey concluded:"The people who built Barlinnie were early pioneers of penal reform and better conditions for prisoners.

"The prison is a vital part of Glasgow and it would be sad to see it demolished.

"Even in the new prison there should be some form of museum to preserve the remarkable history of this iconic penal institution."