Museum Snapshots

Plummer Tower Museum

Plummer Tower was part of the old walls of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which were built from the mid-13th century to the middle or late 14th century. It was converted into a meeting house in the latter part of the 17th century by the Company of Cutlers, and a facade was added by the Company of Masons in the mid-18th century. The older parts of the building are Grade I Listed.

In 1948 the Tower was restored and used as a dwelling, and in 1957 it was acquired by the Corporation of Newcastle. After further restoration the Tower was used as a branch museum of the Laing Art Gallery. The upper floor was furnished as an eighteenth century room, while the ground floor housed temporary exhibits based on the city’s archives.

The 1964 photo above shows the tower in use as a museum, while a more recent image shows the museum sign was removed. The museum seems to have been open until at least 1985, when Kenneth Hudson and Ann Nichols’ Directory of Museums & Living Displays listed it as displaying 18th-century period rooms.

A leaflet kindly supplied by a reader of this blog provided more information about the Tower’s history and its use as a museum.

Cover of leaflet for Plummer Tower Museum, a branch of the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.

Interior view of the 18th century room inside Plummer Tower, Newcastle
The 18th century room inside Plummer Tower Museum, Newcastle

Interior view of the 18th century room inside Plummer Tower, Newcastle

Plummer Tower, 2007
Plummer Tower, 2007

Black and white image via Co-Curate, colour image via Wikipedia. Leaflet provided by Angela Essenhigh. More information from See Newcastle. This post was updated in August 2020.

4 replies on “Plummer Tower Museum”

Hello, If you are interested I have a booklet about an exhibition at the Plummer Tower. It was called Public Helath in Newcastle. It also has a history of the Tower. Plus there is a small leaflet showing the eighteenth century room. If you think they would be of any interest , you would be very welcome to them.
Angela Essenhigh

Hello my maiden name name is Rachel Scott. My grandmother was Virginia Scott also known as Virgie. It was she who restored the Plummer Tower in 1948. I lived with her frequently as a child until a year perhaps before her death. I would so appreciate any information of that time about what went on in the tower. I remember it so well down to the smallest detail what it looked like then. All the wondrous treasures in the tower collected on her travels with my grandfather around the world.
She always invited interesting actors after the theater performances. I remember sitting on Flora Robsons lap.
So I would greatly appreciate any information about the Tower from actually all of its history as what I have learned from the internet is limited. Yours sincerely
Rachel Clearfield

Hello Rachel,
My father, a retired geologist, was also a collector. He used to visit Virgie, a dear friend, at the Plummer Tower as she held regular open-house gatherings for an eclectic mix of like-minded people. I do not know how he knew her but it was possibly through Bernard Stevenson the curator of the nearby Laing Art Gallery. He had a clock called Cox’s “perpetual motion” which was on long-term loan to the Laing and is now in the V&A in London.
Hoping this is of interest to you,

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