The Guildhall Gateway Project
Tavistock Guildhall is open for visits and bookings from Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until 4pm.
April to December - Visit the Guildhall website for more information
Tavistock is the eastern gateway and ‘urban jewel’ of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. At its heart is the Victorian Guildhall (built in 1848) which contains one of the earliest examples in the country of a purpose-built combined courtroom and police station. The Guildhall exemplifies how the Dukes of Bedford used their mineral wealth to create an outstanding example of a planned metal mining town with magnificent public buildings.
The Guildhall continued as the centre of policing and justice in the Tavistock until the late 20th century.
It started to fall into disuse in the 1990s, with the Courtroom closing in 1997 and the Police Station relocating in 2012.
Tavistock Town Council bought the Grade II* building in 2014 to rescue it from further decline and to bring it back into public use. Then in 2017 they formed a partnership with Tavistock Heritage Trust and thanks to generous funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund and other national and local funders, the Guildhall finally re-opened its doors in December 2021 as the Tavistock Guildhall Heritage Centre.
As a World Heritage interpretation centre the Guildhall introduces visitors to Tavistock’s role in both the World Heritage Site and the wider South West mining landscape, including Dartmoor. Through interactive displays visitors can learn about Tavistock’s international architectural and historical significance and be stimulated to explore the town and nearby heritage sites either on their own or by participating in one of the activities provided by the Guildhall staff and volunteers. These heritage facilities are managed by the Tavistock Heritage Trust, who also deliver a coordinated, diverse, experiential learning, events and volunteering programme which enables more people to visit the town and engage with its heritage.