The People's Story Museum @ Canongate Tollbooth, Edinburgh

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 Reviews

163 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH8 8BN +00 44 (0)131 529 4057

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  • The People's Story Museum @ Canongate Tollbooth
    by antistar
  • The People's Story Museum @ Canongate Tollbooth
    by antistar
  • Canongate Tollbooth
    Canongate Tollbooth
    by Jim_Eliason
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    Canongate Tolbooth

    by antistar Written Nov 2, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A real standout feature of the Royal Mile is the clock of the Canongate Tolbooth. It was built in 1591 as a tolbooth for the then separate district of Canongate - a tolbooth being a combined gaol, courthouse and meeting house. It looks older - like the remnants of a medieval castle with faux loopholes, but that look was added by a Victorian renovation. Today it hosts the People's Story Museum and is a category A listed building.

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    Canongate Tollbooth

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Dec 6, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Built in 1591 to collect tolls as people entered the city, this building also served as a prison. Today it houses the People's Story Museum and is one of the most recognizable landmarks on the Royal Mile.

    Canongate Tollbooth Canongate Tollbooth Canongate Tollbooth Canongate Tollbooth
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    A small & free history lesson: THE PEOPLE'S STORY

    by JessH Updated Apr 7, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    During our visit to Edinburgh I was amazed at how many museums and galleries are absolutely free to visit, without any admission charges. And I was grateful that I'd done my homework on VT and other websites before our trip, because next to the National Museum of Scotland and other obvious sites there are some smaller, highly interesting museums tucked-away from the usual tourist path that are easy to miss - such as the People's Story.

    The People's Story is located in the old Tollbooth prison building.
    We came here after visiting the Museum of Edinburgh (just on the opposite side of the street; see separate tip) and after learning all about the city's history there & getting a glimpse of the people who lived here throughout the ages, this museum then gives you the full & more detailed insight into the lives of local merchants, politicians, criminals, children, house wives, beggars, poets & musicians - all of the characters that made-up Edinburgh's "regular Joes" in their work and their leisure, their joy and their hardship; from the late 18th century to the present day.
    This house really does send you back into the sights, sounds and even smells (!) of the past.
    The museum has many unique displays including a prison cell, pub and tea room, a servant at work and how a 1940s kitchen may have looked. Some of the dolls and displays are a bit old and worn, but I thought this added to the charm & the feel of the place.
    On the ground floor we read short stories, saw original photographs and heard recordings from ordinary Edinburgh folk talking about their daily lives. There are plenty of interactive presentations and also a short video as well.

    Here you can feel the despair of the dungeon; the warm camaraderie of the pub; the declarations of the town crier and the demands of political and social reformers. Hear stories from servants; a fish monger's wife; a seamstress; wealthy ladies in a tea room any many more. There are also many original union banners and boards/signs from demonstrations & marches. History remembers the rich, the famous, the talented and the scandalous, but let's put Edinburgh's poets, inventors and actors such as Sir Walter Scott and Sean Connery aside and have a good look at the ordinary people of Edinburgh...
    we really enjoyed this exhibit and would definitely come back here on our next visit to the capital.
    Opening Hours:
    Monday-Saturday: 10:00am-05:00pm.
    Sundays (during August only): 12noon-05:00pm.
    Admission is FREE - although donations are welcome & all sales from their small gift shop pay towards the upkeep of this museum.

    I bought a very interesting little booklet in their gift shop, called "Traditional beliefs and historic superstitions of Scotland."

    TIP: A visit here should go hand-in-hand with a visit to "The Museum of Edinburgh", exactly opposite.
    *
    Panorama of the ground floor:
    http://www.panoramicearth.com/4319/Edinburgh/The_People's_Story

    Inside the People's Story, Edinburgh The People's Story Museum, Edinburgh The dungeon display, The People's Story, Edinburgh
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    Tolbooth Tavern

    by Nemorino Updated Jan 27, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In addition to the museum "The People's Story", the historic building "Canongate Tolbooth" also houses a traditional pub (said to be "popular with tourists" -- no wonder, considering where it is) called the Tolbooth Tavern.

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    The People's Story

    by Nemorino Updated Jan 27, 2012

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    Opposite the Museum of Edinburgh ("across the street," as we would say) there is another museum called "The People's Story", which documents the everyday life of the inhabitants of Edinburgh in various historical periods, from the late 18th century to the present day.

    There are full-scale reconstructions of such places as a prison cell, a cooper's workshop, a 1940s kitchen, a wash-house, a pub and a tea room, and there is a twenty-minute video presentation.

    Open Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm, Sundays during August 12 noon - 5pm. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

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    The People's Story

    by gordonilla Updated Dec 5, 2009

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    The "museum" has used oral history, personal reminiscence and written sources to enable it to tell the story of the lives, work and past times of the people of Edinburgh. It seems to cover a wide period from the 18th century to the current time.

    An enjoyable place to visit, if you want to find out a little more about the lives of the citizens of Auld Reekie. For those who do not know - "Auld Reekie" means "Old Smokey" an historic name used for Edinburgh due it's former appearance covered in smoke from open fires and industry.

    The Peoples' Story

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    National Gallery and Royal Scottish Academy

    by iaint Updated Jan 1, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Art gallery complex in 2 main buildings - the Royal Scottish Academy fronting Princes Street at The Mound, and behind it the National Gallery of Scotland. Both usually free, but may charge for special events. National Gallery is the place for your Rubens, Goya, Titian etc. RSA has the specials - we just missed an Andy Warhol exhibition.
    Because its free, and centrally located, you can "pop in" any time, sit down and gaze at a few Raphaels or Poussins.
    I lived in Edinburgh for 13 years and my parents were there for 25. It took me until my 55th birthday to actually go in and have a look!
    Anyway, as you'll see from my homepage looking for new experiences is part of my ethos, and this was part of it!

    National Gallery side view (gallery, not me)
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    The People's Story (museum)

    by clairegeordio Updated Sep 23, 2006

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Peoples Story is a museum in detailing the history of Edinburgh and it's people.
    The museum tells us about the lives and times of Edinburgh people through the ages to the present day through sights, sounds and smells.
    There are many displays including a tearoom, a servant at work and how a 1940's kitchen may have looked.

    The Peoples Story museum is open Monday-Saturday throughout the year and during August is also open on a Sunday. There is no entrance fee. The building itself also has history - built in 1591, it was the courthouse, prison, and council house.

    Canongate tollbooth, Edinburgh
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    Go to Jail for Free!!

    by scottishvisitor Written Apr 24, 2006

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    The Tollbooth was erected in 1561 & restored in 1879. The building had a Council Chamber accessed by the outside stairs. Underneath was the Jail, this must have been a grim place indeed, especially if you were a Gypsy. They were jailed simply for being what they were. After time spent in the Tollbooth they were then transported to Greenock & shipped from there to New York. The Tollbooth is now a museum with free entry but no visit to New York on offer here!!

    A Place of Incarsination
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    Canongate Tolbooth

    by Nemorino Written Jul 1, 2005

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    The building "'Canongate Tolbooth", which now houses the "People's Story" Museum, was built around 1590 to house the Council Chambers (and the prison) of the then-independent burgh of Canongate, which had not yet been made a part of Edinburgh.

    The building was restored in 1879. The clock on the outside of the building is not the original, but is a replacement for a clock that was made in the 17th century.

    Canongate Tolbooth
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    Canongate Tolbooth

    by MalenaN Updated Mar 4, 2005

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    Tolbooth is a Scottish word for courthouse or jail. Canongate Tolbooth on the Royal Mile is an old stone house from 1591. It now houses the museum People’s Story, which shows the life of the ordinary people of Edinburgh for the last couple of hundred years. On the upper floor there is a videofilm.
    Entrance is free.
    The museum is open Monday to Saturday between 10 - 17.

    Canongate Tolbooth on the Royal Mile
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    The Peoples story

    by mardaska Written Oct 20, 2003

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    This museum tells the story of the people of Edinburgh from the late 18th century to the present day. This museum is filled with sights, sounds and, even, smells of the life in Edinburgh the past years.
    Admission free.

    The Peoples story
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    The People's Story Museum

    by Jim_Eliason Updated Dec 6, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This free museum by the city of Edinbrugh is housed in the Cannongate tollbooth building. It tells the story of the average citizens of Edinburgh by displays of common vocations in period dress.

    The People's Story Museum The People's Story Museum The People's Story Museum The People's Story Museum The People's Story Museum
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    Tollbooth

    by steventilly Written Feb 25, 2003

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    This is The Canongate Tollbooth, the former HQ of the burgh of Canongate. Built around 1591 and now home of The Peoples Story museum.

    Canongate Tollbooth
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    Canongate Tolbooth

    by tompt Updated Nov 20, 2002

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    The old Canongate Tolbooth (1591) was a courthouse and a prison.
    Today it hosts a great exhibition about life in Edinburgh through the years.

    There is no entrance fee!

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