Stonehaven Tolbooth Museum

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Victorian Punishment
15 February 2013

In 1984 the prison cells at Stonehaven police station were refurbished and at least two punishment wheels, also called a Crank, were discovered. One was renovated by Raymond Penney at Mackie Academy and then returned to the police station where it has been stored in the boiler room for the last 25 years. However, this month Grampian Police kindly donated the wheel to the Tolbooth Museum.

the crank 20130215 1466786554

The image shows the Crank in situ at Stonehaven police station - it was attached to the wall and it was connected to a dial in the outside corridor. Prisoners were forced to turn the wheel a certain amount of times in order to receive food etc. The degree of difficulty in turning the wheel could be increased by adding coal dust and iron filings (a very dense mixture) to the drum. Life was certainly not easy in Victorian prisons !!

You are welcome to try your hand at the punishment wheel and reflect on the change in society's attitude to those that have the misfortune to go to jail.

Catterline & Dunnottar School Visits
15 December 2012

As part of the museum's outreach project Rachel Shanks has recently co-ordinated visits to the museum from Catterline and Dunnottar primary schools. We are extremely grateful for the feedback from the pupils and have great pleasure in publishing their letters. The names of the individual authors have been removed so as to preserve their anonymity but readers will observe how much they enjoyed their visits which helped to expand their knowledge of local heritage.

If any other schools or organisations wish to have a private visit to the museum please contact us via the links on our Contact Us page.


Download this file (Catterline_Letters.pdf)Catterline_Letters.pdf1228 kB
Download this file (Dunnottar_Letters.pdf)Dunnottar_Letters.pdf2104 kB

The mysterious Stone Head
20 September 2012

A local resident was creating a flower bed at Fetteresso Castle when his spade struck a hard object. Careful digging yielded a carved stone head. This has now been examined by a series of experts in the UK and their findings are confusing and contradictory. One thought that it belonged to the 5th/6th century; a second opinion placed it as a carving made in the 12th century.

sta fetteresso head web 20120920 1677397790

However, the Treasure Trove Unit at the National Museum of Scotland are of the opinion that it was probably 'knocked out' by a bored stone mason in his lunch break at some time in the last century. Whatever its antecedents it has now been donated to the Tolbooth Museum by the Stonehaven Rotary Club acting on behalf of the original finder. No one can accuse the stone head as being one of great beauty and the carving is crude rather than delicate but it is certainly very interesting and the museum is grateful to the anonymous donor.

Come along and see it for youself; perhaps you can hazard a guess at when it was created. Perhaps it is a likeness of a distant ancestor ! All theories welcome.