Many of the places I’ll be visiting on this journey will be places that are connected either to punishment and imprisonment or the arts and literature. My starting point connects to both.
HMP Wakefield dates back hundreds of years and, to this day, is the host to a local legend. At the centre of the prison grows a large mulberry bush which is said to be the very bush that served as the inspiration for the song:
Here we go ’round the mulberry bush,
the mulberry bush,
the mulberry bush.
Here we go ’round the mulberry bush
on a cold and frosty morning.
In the 1800s Wakefield served as a mixed sex prison and, rumour has it, that women and their children would sing the song whilst exercising in the prison yard.
I was here at Wakefield for a while before I saw it for myself, but I’ve walked past it a few times now and, as I set out on my virtual journey, I think it makes for a perfect starting point.