Looe Old Guildhall Museum and Gaol
OLD GUILDHALL MUSEUM & GAOL
The Museum has now closed for 2020.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us in what has been a difficult (and short) season. We have set up a Just Giving page to raise funds for the museum throughout the winter when we still have to keep the heating on and the dehumidifiers running. We appreciate any financial help you can give, however small it may be, and look forward to seeing you all in 2021.
The Old Guildhall Museum and Gaol is contained in a 15th Century listed building with a fascinating display of Looe’s past.
The building itself is a marvellous exhibit on its own, as it retains many of its Medieval features, with ancient cells and the original raised magistrates bench, complete with the Royal Coat of Arms, from when the local court was held there.
With exhibits from the Bronze Age to the modern day, there’s no shortage of things to look at, domestic equipment, 17th century porcelain, regalia, model boats, the remains of a WWII US bomber and much more besides, including a large archive of old photographs.
The museum is spread over two floors and you enter into the upper floor of the building, which from 1587 to 1878, was the East Looe Town Hall and Magistrates Court. Beneath the magnificent timber-framed roof, laws were made and enforced, and the town was administered by the Mayor and Corporation, known as Burgesses.
Downstairs, you will find more exhibits, plus the two cells used to hold the criminals of Looe in the past. This really was a case of 'send them down' from the court above.
Reviews from our visitors
'How many museums are there like this? The range of artefacts and 'props' is amazing for such a small building. Virtually the whole historic period is covered and with special emphasis on the History of Looe. Just as importantly, the staff (who are all volunteers) are superb. For the £2 admission you could while away one or more hours.'
'I know it is a museum but I really felt I was going back in time. Not like a modern museum but more like you are close to the real Looe of old. They seem to be volunteers sharing what has been collected from the local people. Thank you.'
'A huge mine of information, and extremely interesting if you have the time to look and learn. Worth visiting more than once as you will see different things each time.'
'This stone-built building in the centre of Looe has at various times been the local gaol, the Magistrates Court and the town's Guildhall; now, it is the Town Museum and a good one it is as well. The entrance is guarded by a cannon and once inside, you realise what a treasure-trove of objects and exhibits are on show. You enter up a flight of exterior steps directly into what used to be the offices of the East Looe Town Hall and the Magistrates Court, this being on the upper floor.
We loved the Court plays and the whole family got dressed up and acted out all five plays. What a great way to involve our whole family young and old.
Our whole family loved reading the World War 2 Memories and we have bought the book to take home and share with our friends. Well done for preserving such special memories.
‘Such wonderful guides full of passion and knowledge