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Tales of the Old Gaol House (Kings Lynn)

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  • You can't really lock your little blighters up!!
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      18.05.2001 05:40
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      • "You can't really lock your little blighters up!!"

      I have lived and worked in the King's Lynn area for over 5 years now, and I don't know about you, but "doo yoo" ever get to the stage where you think, hang on, I have visited lots of faraway places, but never the places on my own doorstep? Well, I frequently go into the town of King's Lynn to do my shopping, but there is so much more that the town has to offer. I was (un)fortunate to get picked for Jury Service at King's Lynn Court a while ago, and whilst whiling away the time, I decided to visit one such attraction, namely the "Old Gaol House." This Musueum is open daily from Easter until the end of October from 10 am - 5 pm, and from November to Easter, the Museum is closed on a Wednesday and Thursday, with the last admission being 4.15 pm. The brochure claims that "History is brought to life in an exciting and entertaining way for all the family"....well, I would certainly agree with the first two-thirds of the quotation, but I would have to disagree with "all the family" bit. I'm sure my two-and-a-half year old would have run amock in the cells. Perhaps I could have locked her up and left her there...... Seriously, I would say children between the ages of 6 and 12 would really like it, and adults of all ages would gain a valuable insight into the History of Lynn past. The exhibition actually uses real cells, to show how criminals were dealt with all those years ago. The cells date from as far back as the 18th century. When you arrive, you are kitted out with a personal stereo, which provides a very informative commentary throughout the tour. I have noticed that in recent years, these "self-tour" gadgets have become more and more popular in tourists attractions like these, and do actually work well. You can always fast-forward or rewind the tape if you get bored or miss a bit! The voices on the tape do vary to keep the listeners interest, an d there are even background noises of crowds which do help to create the atmosphere. There is even a special tape for children, apparantley, though I did not test this out on the day. There are even smells along the way (like at the Yorvick Viking Centre in York), which I particularly like! (must be warped!) Anyway, the tour actually begins at an old police counter. You can make a copy of your fingerprints if you are daring enough, and even have a "mug shot" taken in the style of a WANTED poster. Along the tour, there are various artefacts along the way, cleverly researched and placed by the guys at Norfolk Museums Service, which include a ducking stool, stocks, whipping posts and other such instruments of torture! I would suggest that you combine a trip to the museum with one or more of the other many tourist attractions in the town of King's Lynn itself, if it's a nice day, I would suggest walking down to the Quay, which has been recently refurbished, with waterside cafes and shops. The Tourist Information Centre is on South Quay, they are very helpful!

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