The Old Guildhall Museum and GAOL

The Old Guildhall Museum and Gaol is  a 15th Century listed building with a fascinating display of Looe’s past.

Including Exhibits on: Fishing & Boat Building, Smuggling, Looe Island, The Looe Valley Railway Line, Tourism, World War II and original Court room regalia.

Looe museum covers the social and economic history of Looe from early times to the present day. On the lower foor there are also several prehistoric artefacts from the area, notable a tooth from a Mastadon, over two million years old, plus a collection of crystals.

About the Old Guildhall and Gaol Building

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. 

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!