It's a riot as Peterhead Prison Museum reopens to the public

The doors are open at Peterhead Prison Museum once again – and the team have put together some new attractions for visitors to enjoy.

By Kevin McRoberts
Thursday, 29th April 2021, 7:30 am
The newly refurbished driveway at Peterhead Prison Museum, which is now open again to welcome visitors.
The newly refurbished driveway at Peterhead Prison Museum, which is now open again to welcome visitors.

The latest addition is a new riot scene in one of the prison cells.

And there are further developments due later in the summer, with a focus on the quarry where convicts used to be sent to work, and a new picnic and play area.

Alex Geddes, the museum’s operations manager, said: “Looking over the past year, we’ve basically been closed for about nine and a half months.

The museum’s new picnic area is expected to be open in the summer.

"When we reopened after the first lockdown, the museum was really busy and it was nice getting a lot of good feedback from visitors about how it was all set up, so we were on quite a high. But then, sadly, we went into the second lockdown…

"This one has been long, the winter months haven’t helped, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and there’s a real buzz about the place.”

As with all visitor attractions, a number of safety measures are in place at the museum. But as the complex is so big, and it already operated a one-way system for visitors, the museum has been more fortunate than other venues.

"We’ve got space and size on our side,” said Alex. “It’s really been a case of dusting everything down and getting ready to go again."

While the museum has been closed to visitors, that’s allowed staff time and space to get on with creating new attractions, which Alex is sure will be a hit with returning visitors.

"We’ve added a new riot scene, an internal riot scene,” he explained. “On the route we already had a manikin fully kitted out in riot gear, so we decided to give it a purpose and set up a scene in a cell as if they were going in to deal with that situation. There are also two areas still under development. One relates to a large-scale diarama of the train that ran between the prison and the quarry, way back in 1889 right through until the 1950s.

"It’s being made by the Men’s Shed in Westhill, but that’s been slowed down as the shed has been closed. However, it’s well underway and we hope to have it open mid to late summer.

"Next door to that will be another new exhibit area regarding life in the quarry, where the convicts spent their days breaking stones to help build the harbour. But Peterhead granite went worldwide, so we want to tell the story of where the granite ended up.”

The driveway leading has been totally refurbished, and the with the picnic and play area behind the cafe hopefully due to open in the summer, the museum is aiming once again to attract lots of visitors.

Alex added: “We hated being closed because our purpose is to welcome visitors and make sure they have a really great experience. We’re delighted to be able to open our doors again. We get a lot of repeat visitors and speaking to them at the end of the tour they’ll tell us they never saw certain displays last time. It’s nice to be able to add new bits all the time and make it a different experience on every visit.”

Visitors are encouraged to book online if possible. Find out more at