Prepare for swashbuckling fun as Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum sets sail for adventure with Pirate Week this February half term!

There will be a host of activities from a treasure hunt and parrot spotting trail, to film nights featuring Pirates of the Caribbean and Pirates in an adventure with Scientists. The week runs from Monday, February 17th, to Saturday, February 21st, and up to two kids who turn up in fancy dress can get free entry when accompanied by one fully paying adult (*annual pass holders go free, costumes optional but encouraged!)

The team are busily preparing the good ship Shire Hall for all the piratical fun, so expect lots of inflatable parrots, treasure chests and palm trees to adorn the historic courthouse in half term.

On Tuesday, February 18th, from 3.30pm to 5pm, join the film showing of the original Pirates of the Caribbean, where Captain Jack will swagger his way through a classic tale of treasure, daring do and mutiny on the high seas. Then on Thursday, February 20th, from 3.30pm to 5pm join the Pirate Captain and his crew as he takes on notable pirates to try and win the Pirate of the Year award – with a little help from Charles Darwin – in Pirates in an adventure with Scientists. (*Movie nights are charged additionally at £4 per child.)

Cases involving piracy, although rare, were recorded in Dorset’s Shire Hall, the team said. In 1919, the author Thomas Hardy wrote about one such case, which he had watched as a spectator in the Courtroom. In his biography he wrote about a dramatic case of piracy on the high seas which he suggested could have been from tales of “a hundred or two hundred years before.” The case was reported in the Dorset County Chronicle at the time and said that three firemen were accused of grievous bodily harm against their captain and threatened to hoist a red flag.

According to the newspaper reports, the court heard that while ‘pirates used a skull and crossed bones, that a red flag signified mutineers.’ One man was given five years penal service and the other two were each given 18 months hard labour.

For more information about Pirate Week, call 01305 261849, or visit

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