It was the news campaigners had been dreaming of. Yesterday, the UN declared that Cell 23 on D Wing at HMP Wayland, where Lord Archer was imprisoned for nearly 18 months, to be a World Heritage Site. Accorded only to places of significant interest to people across the world, World Heritage status will mean that the historic cell can be preserved for future generations to see where ‘FF-8282′ began to write his seminal ‘A Prison Diary’. A blue plaque will also be placed on the nearby balcony where Archer sold cigarettes to Ronnie Kray.
‘This cell is a monument to the indomitable human spirit, which cannot be crushed by having to spend over a year in Norfolk,’ said Rebecca Trower of Amnesty International, who added: ‘Er, no I haven’t read the book if you must know.’
Millions of people were deeply shocked by Archer’s four-year sentence for perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, when plenty of burglars get out in less. Since then, HMP Wayland has become a pilgrimage site for campaigners against injustice from all over the world.
‘It’s great news that Cell 23 will be preserved,’ commented James Burton of the charity Save Sites of Freedom. ‘After Lord Archer was moved to HMP North Coast in 2004, it underwent significant deterioration, with numerous tea stains appearing on the walls. At least I think it’s tea.’