The Guild Hall Of Leicester - Museumness
Monday, November 28, 2011 8:45:42 AM
It's very small for a museum, but I managed a few photos.
The guild hall is really in six parts; the courtyard, the proceedings hall, the court, the bedroom, library and the prison. Of course, it started out as just the one building, for people of importance to meet and discuss things. Then the City bought it, added two wings and used it for all kinds of mayoral/council/justice proceedings.
We started in the courtyard.
I had to get a photo of the wonky windows I've been in so many similar buildings with just such wonderful warping and handiwork... The Guild Hall is typical of Tudor style architecture, although I hadn't been able to get a good photo depicting the usual half-timbering and façades you tend to think of when you think "Tudor House" - you know, the white walls and black timbers.
Well, they had a lot of Halloween plastic stupid shit up for the kid trips they were accommodating, so I got no photos of the actual two main halls. Most components of which were all stupidly cheapened by some kind of scavenger hunt. Don't get me wrong, it's great for the kids, but annoying for me. Anyway, all I managed was a fireplace shot of the proceedings hall:
Which is a bit cut off due to more silly Halloween stuff lower down.
The red thing you see in the centre of this very gaudy fireplace is the Crest of Leicester City. Interestingly the Wyvern sits atop the crest, but the two lions that are supposed to be either side are not visible. It just seems to be a pattern.
The five-petalled white flower has become a logo for Leicester. Those small things on each petal are each supposed to represent the tail of an Ermine; I have no clue why :inane:
Next we visited the court, and once more decorations got in the way of what I wanted to photograph I did manage to get a not-so-good-shot of... Well, it's not a plaque, as it's too big. It's high up on the wall, built into the structure above one of the doors in the court. And the words on it are Bible quotes, and rather creepy to me.
The top reads Ecclesiastes 12:14, "God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Fear God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
The left reads Proverbs 16:13, "Righteous lips are the delight of kings and the king loveth him that speaketh right"
and the right, Psalm 37:23: "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way". Yeah, I agreeth not with that. But this is no venue for religious opinion, I think this would have done a very good job in the court regardless.
Next up we have a bedroom prepared especially for the County Recorder.
As they had been given the authority to hear of all kinds of cases arising in Leicester, the Recorder had to work all kinds of hours. This bedroom was prepared in 1580 for the person who held the job. The furniture has all been replaced with replica stuff, however, since the originals were lost.
Next up we have the library, which was the public library for the town. There are so many bookcases like this;
And all these books are ANCIENT. And real, I am pretty sure. We are not allowed to touch them. But we looked at many of the title on the spines and many seems to be on operas, or plays of some kind. There were so very many, and you can smell the smell of old book
The did have one book open, on display on a table, and that was a very old, very large Bible.
Also within the library are some really old wooden chests. Now, I have a penchant for wooden chests, especially antique ones. And this one is so very old and battered;
As you can see, the top half the the lock has gone. The wood has warped and chipped away. It does not even close properly. BUT! We were naughty and lifted the lid and yowza, is it a heavy beast! I mean, REALLY heavy. Which I loved. Nowadays you struggle to find good, high quality heavy weight stuff.
We couldn't leave the library without getting a photo of the ugly adornment on the big vanity mirror, which I can only imagine was put there for the mayor.
Lastly, the prison.
Two cells are left, although I'm quite positive there used to be more. They'd decorated them with fake cobwebs and junk for the kids, but I decided that wasn't too bad compared with all the neon spiders and stuff they'd put elsewhere.
^Looks like Jason Lee
The first one scared Mik It's REALLY dark in there, you can only see so much because of my camera flash. So if you don't see the little button and press it to make the light inside come on, you have a silhouette of a person I'd remembered that the dummies were in there, but Mik was really creeped for a second
Anyway, the second criminal (yes, awful picture, sorry) is based on a 17 year old girl from the Victorian period. A man of the cloth took her in and she stole a bunch of his wife's jewellery, and was given 6 month's hard labour as punishment. Wanna see a creepy-ass close up of that cell?
Don't ask me why there's a little kid dummy in there. No idea
Next up we have the replica Gibbet. Complete with fake cobwebbery
Gibbets were used to display the dead bodies of hanged criminals publicly; to shame, to warn. This replica is of one in which a criminal was displayed in 1832; one John Cook, who murdered a traveller named John Paas, thinking he'd have a bit of money to take.
Cook killed Paas with a a pin from Cook's book press. Paas tried to defend himself with a hammer but was killed by the second blow from the pin.
The funny thing is that he was only caught because of a fire which happened while he was out, where they discovered a mass of flesh, which of course, turned out to be human, and part of the hacked-up remains of Paas that Cook had tried to dispose of.
He was tarred, hanged and put in the Gibbet for all to see.
That's not all they used to do to criminals though, they made them squeeze their moobs for dirty prison photo shoots
Okay, no, that's just hands up to show no funny business photos... But it made me laugh a lot on the day