Liam Neeson joins calls to save Reading Gaol with recital of famous Oscar Wilde poem

Actor Liam Neeson has recorded the poem to help jail campaigners Credit: Save Reading Gaol

Actor Liam Neeson has joined calls for Reading Gaol to be turned into an arts and heritage centre - by reading the famous Oscar Wilde poem about the prison.

The Schindler's List star is one of five artists who recite the Ballad of Reading Gaol on a video released by campaigners, who have been fighting for its future since it closed in 2013.

Irish writer Oscar Wilde, the prison's most famous inmate, was imprisoned there for his sexuality, and released 125 years ago, and the recording marks the anniversary.

Campaigner Toby Davies from Save Reading Gaol, said a friend had got in touch with Neeson, who recorded it at home and sent it to the campaigners.

WATCH: 'In Reading gaol by Reading town there is a pit of shame'. Liam Neeson reads the famous Oscar Wilde poem

Four other Reading Gaol supporters, writer Max Porter, poet Deanna Rodger, singer-songwriter David Keenan and performance poet Luke Wright also recite lines of the poem in the video.

Toby said: "Liam Neeson is certainly capturing the headlines and the video is getting some nice momentum up. It is a big boost."

Wilde was held at the prison between 1895 to 1897 after being convicted of gross indecency with Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas. Credit: Matthew Bailey/National Portrait/PA

Wilde was held at the prison between 1895 and 1897 after being convicted of gross indecency for affair with Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas.

While incarcerated, Wilde wrote De Profundis, his letter to his former lover and, after his release, recounted his time there in The Ballad Of Reading Gaol.

Save Reading Gaol wants to convert the former prison into an arts and heritage centre for the community and accessible to all.

The vision is to see as much of the Grade II listed building as possible repurposed, housing a range of arts and community serving functions, including spaces for art exhibitions, music, theatre, crafts, educational workshops and places for people to socialise such as a café and restaurant.