Artwork, press-ups, radio and urinating 'like a horse': How Charles Bronson's daily routine got him through 45 years of solitary confinement

Britain's most notorious prisoner Charles Bronson described how his fellow inmates and officers are struggling to cope as the prison system is on lockdown during the coronavirus crisis.

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 11:45 am

In an exclusive interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post, the former bare knuckle boxer said he had long come to terms with a life of solitary confinement.

But Bronson said he feared for the mental health of other prisoners who are now locked away 23 hours a day in a bid to stop the virus spreading in jails.

He said: "We're all on bang up now.

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Charles Bronson credits art, exercise and a healthy diet as the key to coping with 45 years in custody.

"It's nothing unusual for me. I've had 40 years of it. But with bang up we just get a bit of exercise, a quick shower and that's it.

"No association. No visits, legal or domestic.

"It's not good for a lot them. There's a lot of young lads in prison who can't do their bang up.

"But I don't know any different so it don't mean nothing to me, you know.

Charles Bronson arriving at Leeds Crown Court in 2018 where was found not guilty of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm to the governor of HMP Wakefield.

"I feel for the youngsters though because a lot of them get depressed, suicidal, turn to drugs.

"They need to see their families, don't they?

"It's not good but it will get better."

"It's a tough time for everyone. Same as prison.

Charles Bronson

"People just coming into prison, they are away from their wives and their children, their families.

"They've lost everything, alright some of them bloody deserve to be in prison, let's have it right.

"Some of them, if I had it my way, they would be shot.

"Sex killers and paedophiles and these bloody terrorists. And that's what makes me angry.

"I pick up the paper and I see all these monsters getting released. These horrible people.

"And I can't get released. I'm still in.

"I've never killed no one or raped anyone. I've never been a danger to the public. But I'm still in.

"They still claim that I'm a dangerous man. Well, my crimes in society was never really that bad.

"They wasn't good. But they wasn't really that bad.

"But there we are. We have all got to bear our own cross.

Bronson, who has spent 45 years of his life in custody, stressed the importance of keeping fit and eating well during stressful times.

He said: "I'm still as fit and strong as I was when I was 21.

"My sit-ups are second to nobody.

"I feel good. I drink eight pints of water a day.

"Two at breakfast, two at dinner, two at tea, two at supper.

"Do that to flush all the toxins out of your kidneys.

"You p**s a lot obviously - I p**s like a horse.

"But it's pure p**s. It don't smell. There's no smell to it. It's healthiness.

"You've got to look after yourself.

"My life is, at this moment in time, 23 hours a day behind a closed door in a small room out of a 24 hour day.

"But I get by. If you are fed up, walk up and down.

"Jog up and down. Jump up and down. Read a book. Just do anything that you enjoy doing.

"I've got my beloved radio.

"I've over 65 stations on it. Fantastic. Love it."

In an interview last year, Bronson said his new-found optimism was thanks to jurors at Leeds Crown Court who found him not guilty of attempting to cause serious harm to the governor at Wakefield Prison.

Bronson also spoke about his daily routine to keep mind and body occupied.

He said: "I work out Monday to Saturday.

"Day of rest Sunday. I eat as much as I can.

"I will have my radio on most of the day.

"I'll be doing a piece of art.

"I always do a piece of art every day

"That's what people want to do outside.

"Start doing things they ain't done for years.

"Lets just take for example a 60-year-old woman or a 60-year-old man.

"They are married, they've got children, grandchildren.

"They've not had a lot of time.

"All they had to do is work for a living and pay their bills.

"Probably one holiday a year.

"Well use this time now to do something they haven't done for 40 years, 50 years.

"A jigsaw, write a poem. Just enjoy your time. This is your time now.

"Enjoy it. Don't worry about it. don't stress. It will blow over. It really will."

An exhibition of Bronson's art was held in London in March last year.

Bronson, a self-taught artist, said the exhibition's success has spurred him on to achieve great things upon his release.

He said: "When I do a piece of art I'm really creating a piece of myself.

"I've got my soul in it, my heart in it, my feelings, my emotions, my anger, my frustrations, my happiness, I put everything into my art.

"It all comes out of my head. Some nights I go to bed and dream what I'm gonna do the next day.

"I've got a vision in my head and I create it. And when I've finished it, I look at it and I think - where the bloody hell has that come from!?

"And that's gonna be my life. That's gonna be my life when I get outside.

"I can make a bloody good living out there.

"An honest living doing my art because everyone wants a piece of my art.

"I'm gonna raise thousands and thousands of pounds for charity with my art. Thousands.

"I'm very proud of it, you know. I'm very proud."

Bronson said he was hoping to finally taste freedom again in around two years time but feared the disruption caused by the coronavirus could disrupt his next parole hearing.

He said: "I've got a great legal team.

"I've got my two sons, George and Michael.

"George is actually coming on my next parole which is in about four or five months time.

"But having said that, it's probably put back a bit now because of this flu.

"If all goes well, I'm looking at being out about two years from now.

"And that will be 47 solid years, all but three months of freedom.

"I come in when I was 22 years old, I'm 68 this year. So it's time they let me out. It really is."