Our Museum

The museum aims to record and preserve the history of Lostwithiel and to stimulate interest in the town’s heritage.

Our Collections

You will find a variety of:

* Domestic objects.
* Craft and agricultural tools.
* Local Ceramics.
* War-time memorabilia.
* Law and Order.
* Medals
* Minerals

All exhibits have been  given by local people over the years. The largest item on display is Lostwithiel’s original eighteenth century, hand pumped fire engine.

There is  a reference section on the town's history. It includes census details to help people studying their family history, as well as a photographic collection documenting the town's social history since the early days of photography.

The museum publishes a local history  journal ‘Museum Matters ’ twice a year.


 * Parking in the street, quayside and free town car-park. Lots of independent shops in the town.
* The main room is fully accessible to wheelchairs , but the rear room has limited access.
* Children's dressing-up box.

One of our volunteer stewards will welcome you to the museum.

 The uniform of Joseph Burnett, Lostwithiel's Peace Officer and Town Sergeant, fatally shot in 1814.

The Nuttall Fire Engine, which can be seen at the Lostwithiel Museum, is over 250 years old. It was donated to the town by the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe in 1761.

When a fire needed to be put out the Fire Engine had to be dragged by firemen to the scene. A hose was then connected to a water source to fill the small tanks on the engine.

Two men worked each of the four wooden poles at the corners of the engine, pumping them up and down to drive the water at the fire. The water could reach a distance of 25 feet away and the height of a 2 storey building.

The work was so tiring that the firemen had to work in shifts of 15 minutes, so an hour of firefighting required 32 men.

Museum Origins

 In 1968 the Lostwithiel Old Cornwall Society had an idea to open a museum in the town. The members approached the Town Council & by 1970 it was agreed that the old jail & corn exchange would be made available. 

On the 21st August 1971 Lostwithiel Museum was opened by the Earl & Countess Mount Edgcumbe whose ancestors had rebuilt the premises in 1740.

In 1985 it was suggested that the museum be registered with the Musums & Galleries Commission. To achieve this a separate Museum Committee was formed. By 1994 the museum received full registration as a charity from the Charity Commission.

In 2007 the museum was awarded full Accreditation, the first small museum to achieve such a status. Applying for Accreditation is a rigorous process which takes place every 3 yrs. To qualify museums must meet nationally agreed standards on how they are managed, for the services they offer & how they care for their collections. This valuable award gives the museum status & credibility, & opens doors when applying to certain organisations for grant-funding. There are more than 50 museums in Cornwall, of which 33 are now accredited.