READING gaol is up for sale and campaigners have been working tirelessly to see whether the historic site can be saved and turned into an arts and heritage hub for the community.

The Grade-II listed building is infamous for its incarceration of playwright Oscar Wilde who, according to the British Library, was found guilty of "acts of gross indecency with other male persons" in 1895.

READ ALSO: ‘The Oscar Wilde Society wholeheartedly supports the campaign to save Reading Gaol’.

Wilde was sentenced to two years' hard labour and served some of his sentence in Reading gaol.

The British Library explains that, following his release from prison, Wilde published the Ballad of Reading Gaol - a poem which described the hanging of a prisoner.

This prisoner was Charles Thomas Wooldridge - another notorious inmate of Reading gaol.

Reading Chronicle:

According to The Berkshire Record Office, Wooldridge was a Trooper in the army who was imprisoned for murdering his wife.

Wooldridge reportedly travelled to London to see his wife, Ellen, who he had been married to for 15 months.

The couple had lived apart for most of that time and Ellen asked Wooldridge to stop visiting - a letter which angered him.

READ ALSO: Gallery: Reading gaol hug.

Wooldridge went on to met with her and cut her throat, according to the Berkshire history group's website.

It said when police arrived, he admitted to his crime, explaining he believed she had been cheating.

Reading Chronicle:

Wooldridge was condemned to death on June 18, 1896 and hanged 19 days later, inspiring Wilde's infamous poem.

Reading gaol also housed Amelia Dyer, known as 'The Baby Farmer', who arguably could be one of the most heinous prisoners the gaol encountered.

Dyer was executed in 1896 for the murder of a baby girl but, according to the Thames Valley Police Museum, some experts believe she killed as many as 400 babies throughout her life.

READ ALSO: MP Matt Rodda's petition to save Reading gaol exceeds 7,000 signatures.

Thames Valley Police explain in Victorian Britain the lives of unmarried mothers were 'bleak' as society frowned upon single parenthood and illegitimacy at the time.

'Baby farmers' acted as adoption or fostering agents and took an up front fee from parents to look after their children.

The force describes how Dyer would advertise her services and meet with clients, assuring them she was a respectable, married woman who would provide a safe and loving home for their child.

In reality, she reportedly took the money and killed the babies within days.

The force said she often strangled the infants, wrapped up their bodies and dumped them in the river.

Years after the Dyer case, a number of Acts of Parliament, including the Infant Life Protection Act (1897) and the Children’s Act (1908), were passed.

These meant local authorities had to be notified, with full details and within 48 hours, of any change of custody or death of a child aged under seven.

Rules surrounding adoption and fostering were strengthened and baby farming became a thing of the past.