Guildhall Museum Rochester Museums
The Rochester Guildhall was built in 1687 and is one of the finest 17th century civic buildings in Kent. Originally it consisted of a court hall, a council chamber, city gaol and gaoler's accommodation. The city market was held underneath. Today the Guildhall's staircase and main hall retain the magnificent plaster ceilings given in 1695 by Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovell, who was an MP for the city of Rochester at the time.
Outside, mounted on the roof, is an amazing weather-vane in the form of a fully-rigged 18th century warship. This is 5ft (152cm) tall and weighs just over 112lb (51kg). It is made of gilded copper and lead alloy and has weathered the ever-changing climate since 1780.
The Rochester Museum was founded in 1897, in honour of Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. It was first set up in Eastgate House in the High Street and was moved into the Guildhall in 1979.
The collections follow a time-line through Medway's history and are housed in two separate buildings, along with a small gift shop.
The museum's latest additions are two rooms dedicated to Charles Dickens. These purpose-built displays include original objects, as well as text and graphic panels outlining Dickens' links with Medway. A multi-lingual touchscreen highlights other sites of Dickensian interest. There is also a small audio-visual theatre showing a short, specially made film about the author.
Open: daily 10am-4.30pm (last admission 4pm).
AddressHigh Street, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1PY
Opening times10am - 5.30pm
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