Buckingham Old Gaol is a historic building in Buckingham, the former county town of Buckinghamshire. Following an Act of Parliament on 30 June 1747 (known as Lord Cobham's Act), the original prison building was erected in 1748. The bulk of funding was from Richard Temple, fourth baronet of Stowe (1675–1749), who had been previously MP for Buckingham. It was built in the Gothic style. One of the prisoners jailed here was the prize fighter Simon Byrne. He was tried at the Buckingham Assizes in 1830 for the manslaughter of another prize fighter, Alexander M'Kay. The rounded front of the building was added in 1839, designed by George Gilbert Scott, a local architect. This provided accommodation for the gaoler and became known as the Keeper's Lodge. For around 60 years, the Old Gaol acted as the police station for Buckingham, until a new police station was built a short distance away on Moreton Road. In 1891 it became a fire station, and the C Company of the 1st Bucks Rifles rented part of the building for their armoury from 1892 until 1926. In 1907, public toilets were installed. In the 1950s, it became an antiques shop and café. In 1974, the Aylesbury Vale District Council took over responsibility for the building. Buckingham Heritage Trust was formed in 1985 to save the building and it opened as a museum in 1993, together with a tourist information centre.
Buckingham Old Gaol Museum tells the fascinating story of Buckingham and rural life, including the Flora Thompson Collection (Lark Rise to Candleford author) and Buckinghamshire Military Museum Trust exhibits. A number of the original cells form part of the museum visitor's journey which includes 16 zones: An old cell at Buckingham Old Gaol; The Governor's House; Buckingham Now and Then; Fossils to Romans; Anglo Saxons to Tudors; Civil War and Agriculture; Victorians,Edwardians and Civic Pride; WWI and WWII; Webbs Stores; Buckingham's early Police; Tradesmen's Tools; Lace; Roads, rails and canals; Prison Life; Bucks Military History; Home of Flora Thompson and The Courtyard, former exercise yard.
The Danish Vikings conquered the North of England and attacked southern England many times. King Edward, son of Alfred the Great, came to Buckingham about 915 and built a fort on Castle Hill, where the Viking spear on display was found. The Saxon King Athelstan said that each county town should have a mint and coins were made here for nearly 100 years. But many coins made in Buckingham are now in Danish and Swedish museums. There is the full dress uniform of the Royal Bucks Hussars on display. There are more uniforms, Shakos and Shapkas, horse pistols, and swords to see. Follow the story of the Royal Bucks Yeomanry through the wars, against Napoleon, in the Crimea and in the First World War. In the old Exercise Yard, with its modern glass roof, you can enjoy our temporary exhibitions and special events, as well as finding out more about the history of the iconic Old Gaol building. A large toilet is available, suitable for disabled use. The site is fully wheelchair accessible. Assistance dogs are welcome.
Location : The Old Gaol, Market Hill, Buckingham, MK18 1JX
Transport : Milton Keynes (National Rail) then bus (32). Bus Routes : 18, 32, 80, 83, 91, 131, 132, 133, 134, 151 and Max 60 stop close by.
Opening Times : Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 16:00
Tickets : Adults £3.50; Children £2.00
Tel. : 01280 823020