The Peter Coke Shell Gallery

The gallery holds a collection of almost 200 shell sculptures, all of them produced by the late Peter Coke, actor (famous for playing Paul Temple on the radio), playwright and shellcraft artist. Most are on display at any one time, with rotation on an annual basis of items in storage. Shellcraft was popular in the 18th and 19th centuries and was developed by Peter Coke to a high level of sophistication, using the varied range of exotic tropical shells available of which he had an unparallelled knowledge. Shells available to purchase.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Easter to the end of September, plus October half-term holiday, Monday to Saturday, 12 noon to 4 pm. Closed Sundays. Opening hours may depend on the availability of volunteers, so please check if traveling a long distance.

Admission charges

Free entry, but please make a donation to cover our operating costs.

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Children looking into a case of shells

Sailors' Valentines

  • 14 May 2016 3-5pm

There will be a workshop where children will help to make a large sailors valentine along the lines of the real ones made 200 years ago. These were symmetrical designs made out of shells which 18th century sailors brought back from the West Indies and often had the name of their wife or girlfriend in the middle or a heart symbol. they were made out of colourful tropical shells. Sailors claimed they made them themselves, but often they were bought ready-made.

All materials will be provided, but please bring an apron if you have one!

Suitable for

  • 7-10
  • Any age




The Peter Coke Shell Gallery
West Cliff
NR26 8JT

logo: Museums at Night




01263 821737

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.