Shire Hall Gallery

Shire Hall Gallery by Catherine Brennand RI
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The Shire Hall Gallery is the largest venue in Staffordshire dedicated to visual arts and crafts. Situated in a fascinating Grade II listed building (formerly used as the Crown Court) the Shire Hall Gallery offers visitors a mixture of old and new!

Stafford’s Shire building has had several forms - the present building in the Market Square was constructed in 1793.

As well as hosting balls, theatres, dinners and concerts, the Hall was also home to the crown court, where many sensational trials were held. Perhaps one of the best known today concerns the murder of Christina Collins, killed by boatmen in 1839 by the side of the Trent and Mersey canal and the inspiration for Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse novel ‘The Wench is Dead’.

Court One was last used for legal proceedings in 1991 and is now open to the Shire Hall's visitors. A volunteer guide is on hand every Friday between 10.30am and 2pm.

Venue Type:

Gallery, Library

Opening hours

Mon - Sat: 09.30 - 17.00
Tues: 10.00 - 1700
Sun: 13.00 - 16.00

Closed on Bank holidays
During exhibition changes the Gallery is closed. Please ring before your visit

Admission charges

Gallery: Free
Court One: Free
Multi-Sensory Room: Free - Please call and book in advance

Getting there

The Shire Hall Gallery is located in the Market Square in the centre of Stafford. Car parks, bus stops and railway station are within 5 minutes walk. Stafford is only 3 miles from the M6 (junction 13 or 14)

Additional info

The Shire Hall Gallery also has a Multi-Sensory Room, designed to provide a relaxing environment for adults and children with special needs or learning difficulties and a stimulating environment to aid the sensory development of babies and toddlers. The Multi-Sensory Room is popular, so please call in advance to book.

As well as a permanent crime and punishment display in Court One, the Gallery has a regularly changing programme of temporary exhibitions which focus on contemporary visual art and craft.

From Guy Martin’s ecologically friendly furniture to Raphel Daden’s light sculptures and Mabel Layng’s colourful oil paintings, the Shire Hall Gallery has it all!

Our Art Market is dedicated to promoting and selling the work of artists and craftspeople, ranging from watercolours and prints to cutting-edge contemporary jewellery whilst exhibitions in the Balcony Coffee Bar showcase work by the best local and regional artists.

Please check our website to see who and what is on!

Collection details

Decorative and Applied Art, Design, Film and Media, Fine Art, Law and Order, Photography, Social History

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

Court in Action

A seven lesson pack which investigates the circumstances, people and politics behind cases tried at the Shire Hall. The pack includes all you need to reenact the trial in the court where it actually took place.
KS2: Elizabeth Buckley. When some rings go missing from a local jewellers, the police suspect Elizabeth Buckley. A hard working girl from a poor family, Elizabeth had visited the shop and was seen to be acting suspiciously. Is she guilty or innocent? You decide!
KS3: William Ellis. William lives in troubled times. A staunch campainer for the rights of the poor man, he believes in votes for all! But when disgruntled pottery workers join a Chartist rally to protest about the loss of j

How to obtain

If you would like to arrange a Court in Action visit please contact Jackie Bradbury, Assistant Audience Development Officer who will be happy to answer all of your questions.
Jackie can be contacted by telephone on 01785 278170, or email

Contemporary art and design resources

The Shire Hall Gallery has a changing programme of exhibitions throughout the year, at least two of which have specifically tailored schools resources. These exhibitions normally take place during March-April and September-October and involve artists whose work is currently on show.
We are also able to produce tailor-made sessions to fit your requirements. We are able to accomodate everyone from primary and secondary schools through to sixth form colleges and PRUs. Please contact the Gallery for further details.
If you would like to bring your class to the Shire Hall Gallery to study the nineteenth century courtroom or to enjoy self-guided activities in one of the art exhibitions there is

Getting there

The Shire Hall Gallery is located in the Market Square in the centre of Stafford. Car parks, bus stops and railway station are within 5 minutes walk. Stafford is only 3 miles from the M6 (junction 13 or 14)

Shire Hall Gallery
Market Square
ST16 2LD




01785 278345


01785 278327

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.