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, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 11.00 - 16.00
Tuesday, and Sunday 11.00 - 13.30
Closed all day Saturday
Adults £3 Children Free
Dogs are welcome on a lead.
East Looe Town Trust 01503 263709
There is disabled access into our museum via the back door using a ramp. Please go round to the back door using the passageway to the right of the main entrance. There is a doorbell on the back door of the museum, and if you ring this, one of the volunteers will come down and try to help you. If you need help please ring East Looe Town Trust as above. Remember that some of our volunteers are elderly and they might need to ring our maintenance team for help with the ramp as it is heavy. They will inform you that this is what is happening and please be patient. 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.
Our most frequent comment from our visitors is ' best money I've ever spent. Fantastic value!
Come and visit us!
We have a Children's Activity area with quizzes and a wordsearch and lots of colouring in and stickers.
We have new exhibitions this year about the Boat and ship building in Looe over the years, and the story of Thomas Bond, whose important book, Topographical and historical sketches of the the boroughs of East and West Looe was written two hundred years ago.
We look forward to children and adults using our dressing up clothes to act out our plays, taken from real court cases 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 building, built in 1450 is our greatest artefact, and as you enter look up at the pillories at the top of our entrance and the beams as you enter the building. Look out for our immersive smuggling cabinet, the Court and Gaol with the 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. Go into the one that is open and see what a small space it was for the prisoners. There was no exercise yard for them so it was not a pleasant experience!
Reviews from our visitors
The best money that I have ever spent. What a gem!
Thank you for your help with my Dad's wheelchair - he thoroughly enjoyed the television film of the upstairs and was made to feel very welcome. The labels for the artefacts were very clear for him to read - well done to you all for looking after us.
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!
'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. You can easily 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