One of Gainsborough’s historic gems has been opened as a museum, enabling local residents to get hands on with history and find out what it would have been liked to be locked up in the town’s original police stations.
The Crime and Punishment Museum is situated in the Old Nick, a fascinating grade II listed building near Marshalls Yard in Gainsborough. The Old Nick served as Gainsborough’s original police station from 1860 until the police moved to Morton Terrace in 1975. Did you know it was actually the divisional headquarters for the Lincolnshire Constabulary for over one hundred years? It even had its own courtroom, which can still be seen today in the form of a theatre in the round which is still used to put on plays and events. When the police station opened, it only had one superintendent, a sergeant and six men, with a separate residence for the superintendent and his family.
The museum opened in July and is currently in phase one of its exciting project which aims to showcase 150 years of policing in Lincolnshire and celebrate the story of women in the police force. Using sounds, smells and true stories the museum aims to allow visitors to engage with the past and look forward into the future by exploring modern day policing while getting hands on with history!
The museum is currently open every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 10.00am to 4.00pm. Prices are half price while the museum is still in its early stages. Adults are £3.00, concessions £2.50 and children £1.50. Volunteers opened the museum for the Heritage Open Weekend which was a huge success with wonderful feedback from visitors about what has been done with the museum so far.
Visitors can look inside the two original male cells and the female cell which was added later and can imagine what it would have been like to have been locked in. You can still see some of the original graffiti left by some of the inmates! Other exhibitions include the telephone exchange, the interview room and the superintendent’s sitting room. Children can have a go at fingerprinting, dressing up and searching for answers and clues in our police quiz!
Volunteers at the museum have discovered many interesting stories about the inmates and their crimes and also facts about the people who used to work there. They will share these with you as you look around.
Several of the exhibitions display interesting items which have been either loaned or donated to the museum by the
Lincolnshire Police Headquarters, including an original charge desk and police equipment and uniforms. The project’s managers are extremely grateful to Lincolnshire Police for their support and they are equally as excited to work with the museum in education and community projects.
Just the beginning
The volunteers plan to continue to develop the museum to bring the history of the building and policing alive with drama, interactive storytelling and fun activities for children including crime scene investigation. Once this has been established, the team would then like to work with local schools to teach them about the history of the police and modern-day roles and issues, including crime prevention.
The project managers are always looking for volunteers for the museum so if you would like to get involved please contact 01427 239387 or come along to the museum when it is open to express your interest and find out more.