The Old Gaol Cells

Stories of Lynn is home to The Old Gaol House, which was where, for over 400 years, Lynn’s most notorious citizens were imprisoned.

The Old Gaol House began as a medieval prison with just four cells, then became a House of Correction, or Bridewell, housing petty criminals and debtors.

At its peak as a Victorian gaol, it held up to 50 prisoners. When the gaol closed, the building became a police lockup, and was in use as recently as the 1950s.

The Old Gaol House explores the town hall’s history as King’s Lynn’s magistrate’s court. Visitors will hear the eerie sound of a prisoner being called up the narrow stairs from the cells to the court, to learn his fate. Or see the skull of a schoolteacher who was convicted of murder! It was preserved as the Victorians believed in phrenology: reading someone’s character in the shape of their skull.

Young visitors can dress up as gaolers and prisoners, see a ducking stool and leg irons, and explore the dark dungeons.

The Old Gaol House is part of the Stories of Lynn Exhibition.