Looe Old Guildhall Museum and Gaol
OLD GUILDHALL MUSEUM & GAOL
The Raddy Collection images are now available to browse and buy on-line...
Chose from 100s of images in various formats.
Opening times during our Season:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 11.00 - 16.00
Saturday and Sunday 11.00 - 13.30
Adults £2 Children Free
Dogs are welcome on a lead.
There is disabled access into our museum via the back door using a ramp. If you need this service please ring 01503 263709 and the volunteers and our maintenance manager will be informed immediately and the ramp will be put down for you. If you have someone with you who is able to come up the front steps they can ask the volunteers to put the ramp down, but please note that some of our volunteers are elderly and might have to wait for help from our maintenance team as the ramp is quite heavy. There is a film guide on our downstairs television which shows you the upstairs of the museum with a spoken commentary. Everyone is welcome to our museum and we make every effort to make access possible.
We are all volunteers in the museum and occasionally the museum has to be closed due to illness and volunteers not being available.
Congratulations to our museum volunteers who were awarded the Heritage Heroes and Leader of the Year awards at the Cornwall Museums Heritage Awards. We have a great volunteer team and this is a well deserved acknowledgement of their hard work.
We will have a new Crown Quiz for children to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. See if you can guess which King or Queen was on the throne for various artefacts in the museum.
There will be a permanent Exhibition of the Raddy images and cameras in the museum, and we will also have a new display of the Canal and Railway in Looe.
We will have a new Media Wall on the lower floor of the museum in July, which will show whispering portraits of prisoners in the Gaol, where visitors have to decide whether they are guilty or not.
We will also have our dressing up clothes available again so families can act out our Court Plays and learn about Court cases in the past that happened at our Magistrate's Court.
We are really looking forward to welcoming our visitors this year and telling you the many stories of Looe.
The Museum Volunteers
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 many eras, there’s no shortage of things to look at. Our smuggling cabinet and Augmented Reality Looe Island game, our Court and Gaol, stories of Court cases from the past which you can act out at the Magistrates Court, Regalia, stories of WWI and WWII, a display of the Canal and Railway in Looe, RNLI artefacts and Raddy photos and cameras, as well as the stories of the Edwardians in Looe 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 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
The best £2 that I have ever spent. What a gem!
A brilliant and holistic time capsule of Looe.
Your volunteers are so helpful and informative - thank you for all your help, and although your museum is small, it is packed with the stories of Looe's past. Keep up the good work!
We all really enjoyed the augmented reality game about Looe Island and learned so many interesting facts about the history of the chapel. First time we have seen such a good game in a museum.
'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.'
We felt so safe and our children had a wonderful time reading the court plays and acting them out with their Dad. Fantastic museum volunteers who were so helpful.
'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. So many interesting stories of Looe's Past. 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.
‘Such wonderful guides full of passion and knowledge