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Gosport / Haslar IRC

Gosport / Haslar IRC

Until its closure in April 2015, Haslar Immigration Removal Centre was an IRC located in Gosport, on the Hampshire coast in the south of England. It held approximately 200 adult men aged 18 and over. It was designated as a removal centre and began operating under the detention centre rules in February 2002, but had held immigration detainees since 1989. Until its closure it was operated by the HM Prison Service.

Haslar IRC had been an active participant in the Music In Detention programme since 2005, enabling detainees to experience and participate in the music of many different cultures.

We provided monthly music participation workshops where detainees, facilitators and IRC staff took part in drumming, percussion, singing, songwriting and dance, giving detainees confidence in their abilities and an opportunity to learn new skills. The artists encouraged the detainees to share their music and songwriting with members of the local community during the community exchange projects. The principle music provider for Haslar was former partner Drum Runners, with occasional workshops delivered by Music for Change  and Asian Music Circuit.

Community exchanges took place with Bridgemary School in Gosport, as well as the Nimrod Community Centre, Seafield Community House, Motiv8, Proud2B, The Treehouse Children's Centre and Fareham & Gosport Mind. 

Gosport was a pioneer of a new partnership approach that MID is still developing. The partnership was between MID, Haslar IRC, Gosport Voluntary Action and other statutory and voluntary organisations working in Gosport Borough. It was set up on the shared understanding that local management is the most effective way to involve a significant number of local groups and volunteers in supportive relationships with detainees which benefit all involved. MID is grateful to all those who were involved in developing this aspect of our work.

“The detainees were a little nervous at first but towards the end of the first session they warmed to the idea…at the end they thanked us and one person in particular was so overwhelmed that he bowed down and touched my feet showing respect, saying he was so happy that the workshop had made his day and ‘given him a ray of light and hope.’”

Drum Runners Artist

Music In Detention, by Zbigniev Cedro, 2008

Music In Detention, by Zbigniev Cedro, 2008

This painting is a response to Zbigniev's experience of taking part in Music in Detention’s workshops at Haslar IRC, where, at the time it was painted in 2008, Zbigniev was a detainee. The painting features detainees, Music in Detention workshop leaders, uniformed officers and even a few famous musicians in amongst the crowd…

It was displayed in the visits hall at Haslar until the centre’s closure in April 2015, when it was returned to Music In Detention's office at King’s Place, London.


Gosport is a town, district and borough situated on the south coast of England, within the county of Hampshire. It has approximately 80,000 permanent residents with a further 5,000–10,000 during the summer months. It is part of the South Hampshire conurbation and lies on a peninsula on the western side of Portsmouth Harbour opposite the City of Portsmouth, to which it is linked by a pedestrian ferry. Gosport has been assessed as the 168th most deprived area in England out of 354 local authorities