I visited Nottingham's 'haunted' Museum of Justice and had a strange encounter

Inside the National Justice MuseumInside the National Justice Museum
Inside the National Justice Museum | Abigail Rabbett / Nottingham World

I’m pretty au fait when it comes to the supernatural.

I love a good ghost story and I’ve had my fair share of ‘strange experiences’ over the years.

Haters might say it’s just a vivid imagination but either way, I’d consider myself pretty ‘in the know’ about these things.

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A couple of weekends ago I decided to stick on my tourist hat and explore some of Nottingham’s best-loved attractions.

And what would a trip to our fair city be, without a visit to the National Justice Museum? Incomplete, you’re right.

The sun was shining over Nottingham as we arrived at the Galleries of Justice.

We got there early to beat the traffic and were among the first through the doors that day.

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It was great to have the museum to ourselves, as it meant we could enjoy all of the exhibitions in detail. Taking the time to read every card and explainer.

We enjoyed the interactive features of the exhibitions, like old-school telephones with voice recordings from students, quizzes, and more.

The National Justice Museum is a must-visit in Nottingham The National Justice Museum is a must-visit in Nottingham
The National Justice Museum is a must-visit in Nottingham | Abigail Rabbett / Nottingham World

We failed miserably at cracking the code to the safe - we would make neither good criminals nor police officers it seems.

Then we ventured through the museum.

There are parts of the tour that aren’t so ‘fun’. I found the exhibition about young offenders quite tough to swallow and seeing the gallows up close is incredibly poignant.

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But it was down in the cells, where things started to feel, strange.

Tiny rooms, with small metal framed beds, serve as frightening reminders about what prisoners of all ages endured.

There are references to cases on the walls of the cells, describing the crimes people committed, ranging from larceny to more heinous crimes.

It is here that the creepy encounters started.

Artwork shows tiny cells Artwork shows tiny cells
Artwork shows tiny cells | Abigail Rabbett / Nottingham World

While in the cells, I tripped (I know what you’re thinking, lay off the Bloody Mary’s big foot) but there was nothing to trip over.

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I later read on Haunted Rooms, that this part of the museum is allegedly rife for poltergeist activity, with visitors experiencing things being thrown at them across the room and sometimes being touched.

I gave my companion a knowing look, and we quickly scarpered from the cells after I announced that “there was definitely something there”.

Down in the dungeons we were overcome with a hideous sense of foreboding. Walking down a tight, dark staircase into the pits, left us feeling ill at ease.

A little rat in the Museum of Justice A little rat in the Museum of Justice
A little rat in the Museum of Justice | Abigail Rabbett / Nottingham World

Not because it felt dangerous but because you could easily imagine how easy it would be to descend into madness down there. If that’s not enough of a reminder to adhere to the speed limit, I don’t know what is.

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And we were pleased to see daylight - even if it was accompanied by the gallows.

There is a place in the museum where you can “stand in the place of those executed”, which I chose to avoid, for fear of tempting fate.

The exhibition about transportation was fascinating, bringing to life the motions of travelling by boat to the “unexplored” continent of Australia.

Don’t forget to pop outside before you head off and look at the old police cars and... tardis, I mean police box.

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Don't miss this! Don't miss this!
Don't miss this! | Abigail Rabbett / Nottingham World

We didn’t make it to the courtroom (because we were running late for a lunch date) but could have easily spent several more hours exploring this museum.

There are interactive elements, moments of light relief, and darker, more serious exhibitions to see.

I’d highly recommend a visit to the Galleries on your next day out in Nottingham. Just err, don’t read up too much before you go.

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