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Fleetwood Museum

Fleetwood Museum reopens soon, for the 2022 season. Visit the exhibits and see the past come to life. Volunteers wanted - could it be you?

Visit Fleetwood Museum

Love Fleetwood and the Fylde Coast? Why don’t you visit Fleetwood Museum and see the past come to life! It’s open seasonally from Easter each year – which means it re-opened on 5 April 2022.

It’s a historically important building in its own right. It houses an important collection of history from the fishing industry and from the local area. Unique in local heritage tourism, it’s the only officially accredited museum on the Fylde Coast.

See the Past Come to Life at Fleetwood Museum

This seaside town has a fascinating past – it was one of the first planned towns in the UK. When you know it’s secrets and where to look you can still see traces of its history all around you. You might already know the names of Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood and Decimus Burton. Find out all about the town’s founding father and his renowned architect.

Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood
Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood

One of Fleetwood’s Earliest Buildings

Find Fleetwood Museum in the oldest building that’s still in use in the town. Built in the mid 1830s and designed by Decimus Burton himself, this impressive place is Grade II listed.

Look inside to find out about its origins as the Customs House. Follow the exhibits up and down the corridors and stairs and see how the building has changed over the years. After a threat of closure, the museum is now independent. It’s funded by the people of Fleetwood through an annual precept.

Each room, nook and cranny houses artefacts, photos, and relics from the past. Exhibits bring the industrial heritage of the area to life. Learn about the salt mines, chemical manufacture and the fishing industry.

The aim of Fleetwood Museum is to be a place of outstanding historical significance. Educating the young, reminding the old and inspiring future generations to investigate their heritage. It’s integral to the heart of the community, a place where visitors can come together to learn, engage and belong. 

Find all kinds of interesting things inside Fleetwood Museum...
Find all kinds of interesting things inside Fleetwood Museum…

New for 2022 at Fleetwood Museum

A stunning collection of over 40 intricate ship models is just one of many exciting new displays at Fleetwood Museum for this year.

Opening times: Tuesday – Saturday 10.30am – 4pm and Bank Holiday Mondays.
Entry price: just £3.00 for adults, seniors £2.00, children go free.

The museum’s Deep Sea gallery tells the story of Fleetwood’s world-famous fishing trawlers. It’s been extensively refurbished and refreshed with new exhibits.  The collection of ship models was owned by Tony Lofthouse, from the Lofthouse family who own Fisherman’s Friend.  When Tony sadly passed away in 2018, his wife Doreen donated the collection to the museum.  12 of the models were displayed in 2021. But now you can see the whole collection for the first time.

One of the model boats from the Lofthouse collection
One of the model boats from the Lofthouse collection

Ben Whittaker is Museum Manager at Fleetwood Museum. He said: “The Lofthouse collection of ship models is of national significance and we’re delighted to make them accessible to visitors.  Tony and now Doreen Lofthouse have both sadly passed away – but the models are a fitting tribute to their love of Fleetwood and the town’s trawler history.  Many of the models depict trawlers which had links to Fleetwood. They’re still remembered by retired trawlermen, including some of our own volunteers.”

Artefacts and Artwork

Other new aspects of the Deep Sea gallery include a wall of artworks and photographs that depict Fleetwood trawlers at sea. Along with artefacts from the now scrapped Fleetwood trawler Jacinta

Zara Robinson is Collections and Interpretation Assistant at Fleetwood Museum. She said: “We’ve selected a range of oil paintings, sketches and photographs by local artists including Keith Sutton, Tom Roskell and Phil Dell. They dramatically illustrate the harsh and challenging conditions faced by Fleetwood trawlermen working in the Icelandic fishing grounds. Being a trawlerman was one of the most dangerous occupations you could have. 

“We’re also displaying lots of material from the Fleetwood trawler Jacinta. It’s part of our long-term plan to use the Jacinta collection as a case study for the Fleetwood trawler story. There’s specialist navigation and fish-finding equipment from the wheelhouse on display for the first time. This includes the ‘Box of Lies’ – the name often given by trawler crews to the VHF radio. Skippers would often mislead other vessels over the radio about where there was or wasn’t good fishing. Competition between different vessels and firms could be fierce!”

Visit the Boathall

There’s more equipment from the Jacinta wheelhouse in the museum Boathall to the rear of the Museum.

There, you can also view Harriet (below) – the 1893 fishing vessel. It’s part of the National Historic Fleet. This means that Harriet is ranked alongside other famous vessels, such as Cutty Sark, as being of national significance. 

Harriet Fishing Smack

The huge boat is moored on dry land inside the shed. Find out how the boat sailed dangerous waters to feed local people – and the fishermen who braved the voyage.

The museum is currently fundraising for ambitious plans to extend the Boathall and begin an exciting project that would see the local community actively involved in conserving historic vessels at the Fleetwood site.

Visit The Coffee House for a drink and a bite to eat. It’s open to the public without paying the museum entry fee.

Likewise, the adjoining Book Shop is open Tuesday – Saturday 10.30 – 3.30pm. Browse through hundreds of books, priced at only 50p each.

Events at Fleetwood Museum

There’s a busy programme of events throughout the year at Fleetwood Museum. There’s all kinds of things to do, for local adults and children and the many visitors to the Fylde Coast.

Regular events include:

  • Coffee mornings in the cafe with the Friends of Fleetwood Museum
  • Talks at the Museum
  • Guided walks around Fleetwood
  • Fundraising book sale in the adjoining Dolls House
  • Songs in the Museum
  • Monthly children’s Craft Events during school holidays

Check out the Visit Fylde Coast Events Calendar

Walks, Talks, Music and Cake at Fleetwood Museum

Bring the past to life with the Fleetwood Museum walks and talks. Join your knowledgeable host to find out much more about a particular subject. A voluntary donation of £2 is welcomed for attendance at talks and walks.

For further details phone Fleetwood Museum on 01253 876621 or check the website. The Museum Coffee House is open for food and drinks prior to events.

Talks…

These interesting talks are held on the first Wednesday of the month at 2pm. It’s advisable to arrive early in order to get a seat!

  • On Wednesday 4th May, David Pearce presents ‘Fleetwood Farms in the 19th & 20th century’.
  • 1st June– Dick Gillingham- Royal Visits to Fleetwood since 1847. (Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Commemorative event)
  • 6th July– Eddy Hammill- Fleetwood Ships and Docks in photos.
  • 3rd August– Phil Brown- Fleetwood Football Club since 1877.
  • 7th Sep– Dick Gillingham- Tom Gallon Lumb: Entrepreneur.
  • 5th Oct– Stuart Leadbetter- The Joy of Amateur Astronomy.

Walks…

Historical walks take in the sights and sounds of the local area. Enjoy a stroll with your knowledgeable guide, and find out things you never knew!

Walks must be booked at Fleetwood Museum Reception in the 3 weeks before and are limited to 20 people. All walks will start at 13.30. Please wear flat soled shoes and bring a drink.

  • The walk on Tuesday 3 May meets at Rossall Observation Tower at 1.30pm. Explore ‘The Social & Military History Around Rossall Point’.
  • Wednesday 15th June from Museum – Deep Sea Fishing Heritage of Fleetwood.
  • Tuesday 12th July from Museum – Pre and Post War Holidays in Fleetwood.
  • Tuesday 13th Sep from Park Pavilion (at 10.30am) – Memorial Park History.
  • Wednesday 21st Sep from Museum – A 1950s Shopping Day in Fleetwood.

A full list of walks and talks for the season is available from Museum reception.

Music…

The popular Folk Music in the Museum sessions take place in the upstairs education room on these Fridays at 1pm –

  • May 27, June 24, July 29, Aug 26, Sept 30, Oct 28, Nov 18.

Performers and musicians welcomed. A voluntary collection will be held.

Cake…

Everyone’s favourite! Fleetwood Museum Coffee Mornings are back! Home made cakes, fresh coffee and a good chat. There will also be a fundraising raffle. Last Monday of the month, from 10.15am

Take a look around inside!

Opening Times

Fleetwood Museum reopens on 5 April 2022, until the end of November.

Weekly from Tuesday – Saturday from 10.30am – 4pm until the end of November.

There is a small entrance charge. £3.00 for adults, £2.00 concessions and free admission for children up to 16 years of age. Unfortunately, due to steps and stairs, the museum building is not accessible to people with mobility difficulties.

New Volunteers

The museum is operated by a full time manager and part time collections assistant along with a team of 60 passionate volunteers. They work in areas from the café, galleries and gardening to historical research.   

Volunteers give their time to help at the museum. The Museum is always looking for new volunteers to help in various areas of the museum during the open season. Are you an ex-trawlerman? Would you like to act as a guide in the deep-sea gallery?

**HELP NEEDED**

Extra volunteers are needed to help in the Coffee House. Could you do a minimum of three hours a week? If you’re interested please phone 01253 876621 – and don’t forget to mention you saw it on Visit Fylde Coast!

Volunteers needed to help out at the Museum. Could it be you?
Volunteers needed to help out at the Museum. Could it be you?

They produce the exhibits, man the building, serve in the cafe, operate the gift shop. Volunteers do literally everything to keep the place open for visitors. No previous experience is needed – training is offered to support the volunteer’s role and social occasions to enhance it. All you need is an interest in the history of Fleetwood and a friendly attitude.

There’s a task for everyone and all kinds of skills are needed. From practical, hands-on building skills to creative people to put sets together. People who like doing paperwork to those with good people skills. Not only is it rewarding, but you’ll make lots of new friends.

Could you volunteer for a minimum of 3 hours a week? Please ring 01253 876621 or email info@fleetwoodmuseum.co.ukand please mention that you saw it on Visit Fylde Coast!

Shop & Cafe

Just through the main doors and on your left you’ll find the gift shop and coffee shop. And you don’t have to pay the museum entry charge to use either of them. Why don’t you pop in, browse around and have a brew and a bite to eat?

  • Find numerous local interest books on sale in the shop within the reception area. Plus Fleetwood postcards, children’s pocket money toys and unusual gifts. Why not pop in to look round?

Take away a memento of the town – you’ll find some interesting products on sale including an interesting range of local history guides.

Gift shop at Fleetwood Museum
  • Why not pop in to the cafe for a brew and a bite to eat. There’s no entrance charge if you would like to use the cafe or look round the museum shop.

Sir Peter’s Coffee House is an exceptionally good coffee shop.

Fleetwood Museum Coffee Shop
Fleetwood Museum Coffee Shop

Second Hand Book Sale

Don’t forget to visit the second-hand bookshop in the Dolls House next to the museum.

Looking for something to read? Got some old books to donate? Call into the Book Sale at Fleetwood Museum.
Book sale at Fleetwood Museum

It’s open Tuesday, Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10.30am – 3.30pm. Plus Wednesday afternoons from 1.15pm – 3.30pm.

Choose from hundreds of books on all kinds of subjects, fiction and non-fiction, priced at 50p each. Children’s books are only 10p each. Looking for a specific book? Leave your details and the volunteers will look out for it.

Uncovering the Museum…

Great news for the start of the new 2021 season, when the restored frontage was finally revealed at Fleetwood Museum!

Fleetwood Museum shows off the new frontage in 2021
Fleetwood Museum shows off the new frontage in 2021

It started as a simple redecoration project at the end of 2018… and quickly become an exciting project to reveal the original splendor of Fleetwood’s former Custom House.

If you passed Fleetwood Museum you’ll probably have noticed the scaffolding and changing patchwork appearance to the front of the building. Fleetwood Museum Trust took over the running of the site from Lancashire County Council in April 2018, and later that year started work to redecorate the front. But large areas of waterproof coatings started to come off, revealing years of trapped water and extensive cracking.

The trust carried out extensive tests working with Wyre’s conservation officer and specialists in historic roofing and stonework. Under ten layers of paint coatings, the original historic render could be glimpsed, as first applied in 1837. And all the window surrounds, entrance columns and high-level parapets are in the familiar stone of the nearby North Euston Hotel.

Renovation of the exterior of Fleetwood Museum gets underway. Feb 2019
Renovation of the exterior of Fleetwood Museum gets underway. Feb 2019

Careful conservation

Conservation specialists carefully removed the modern paint coatings to reveal the original render.  This was then surveyed to identify numerous areas requiring repair.  After these repairs, the final stage was to apply a conservation grade system of paint coatings.  This system, ideal for coastal locations, provides a water-repellent layer whilst also allowing the building to breath, without hiding original features.

“It’s been a long journey to get here, but we were determined to do things in the right way.  We have undertaken vital repairs to the front and made it watertight. But the project has done much more. It’s allowed us to reveal many original features that have been hidden for decades and return the building to its original Georgian era elegance.  We’re delighted with the finished appearance.”

Keith Porter, chairman of the trust

…and new Plans!

Ambitious plans are being developed to finally finish the extension started in the mid-1990s.  It includes rehousing the nationally important historic boats ‘Harriet’ and ‘Judy’ in improved conditions and providing exciting new galleries about Fleetwood and the Fylde coast.

The museum currently has only 10% of its collection on display. The planned extension will allow even more objects to be displayed that celebrate and explore life in the area.

Mapping Memories with Fleetwood Museum

This exciting new Fleetwood project began in 2021, collecting residents memories of the town. Add yours to the map, from the 1950’s up to the present day, to create a community archive. 

Mapping Memories at Fleetwood Museum

It’s the first part of a three year programme of events and activities. They’re being delivered by a group of local arts and community groups, led by Fleetwood Museum. 

You can share your memories in a number of ways:

Find out more and pin your memory on the map here

‘This Lass Can’

This exhibition ‘This Lass Can’ features Fleetwood Women who’ve made an impact in the town over the years. Many thanks to the ‘Friends of Fleetwood Museum’ group who sponsored this exhibition.

From fishwives to mayors, businesswomen to sporting legends. Their lives, stories, struggles and triumphs. Celebrating our wonderful women!

This Lass Can - 2021 exhibition at Fleetwood Museum
This Lass Can – 2021 exhibition at Fleetwood Museum

‘Take a Deep Breath’ Exhibition

The 2020 exhibition is ‘ Take A Deep Breath‘. It’s the story of the world famous lozenge, Fisherman’s Friend. It’s still on display, due to the very short season in 2020.

Fisherman's Friend exhibition at Fleetwood Museum
Fisherman’s Friend exhibition at Fleetwood Museum

Sponsored by Lofthouse of Fleetwood, it features the only bottle of James Lofthouse’s original linctus still in existence!

Fisherman’s Friend Exhibition

In 1865, Fleetwood pharmacist James Lofthouse created his own menthol and eucalyptus liquid for local fishermen to take at sea. It gave them relief in the harsh and freezing conditions of the north Atlantic.

Later made into lozenge form, the ‘Fisherman’s Friend’ was born. Originally sold in the local Lofthouse Chemist shop in Fleetwood, Fisherman’s Friend now produces over 5 billion lozenges annually in the Fleetwood factory.

Did you know? Fisherman’s Friend are on sale in over 100 countries around the world?

Fishermans Friend, made in Fleetwood
Fishermans Friend, made in Fleetwood

An Inspiring Story

This new exhibition tells the inspiring story of Fisherman’s Friend. It explores the original idea and creation of the product in 1865, charting the development and growth of this proud Fleetwood business.

Ben Whittaker is the Museum Manager. He says: “We’re really excited to work with Lofthouse of Fleetwood Limited to create this exhibition. Fisherman’s Friend is a real success story for the town of Fleetwood which we want to celebrate. They have a fascinating history – we will tell the story of how James Lofthouse developed the product in response to a demand from local fishermen.

“Also how Doreen Lofthouse was instrumental in developing Fisherman’s Friend to the product we know today. You might also be surprised to know how popular Fisherman’s Friend is around the world. There are some very exotic flavours, only available overseas.”

Memorabilia and Memories

The exhibition features objects charting the history of Fisherman’s Friend and examples of Fisherman’s Friend memorabilia from over the years. It also reveals some fascinating secrets such as the story behind the famous fishing boat logo.

Fishermans Friend Exhibition at Fleetwood Museum in 2020
Fishermans Friend Exhibition at Fleetwood Museum in 2020

Duncan Lofthouse, Managing Director at Lofthouse of Fleetwood Limited, comments: “Over 150 years since James Lofthouse produced our first lozenge, Fisherman’s Friend is still a family-owned business. Fleetwood has always been – and always will be – at the heart of our story. We’re delighted to support Fleetwood Museum’s local exhibition that goes back to our roots, highlighting historical milestones.”

Fleetwood Museum is keen to hear from anyone who may have a piece of Fisherman’s Friend memorabilia they would be willing to loan or donate for the exhibition. Share your stories or memories related to Fisherman’s Friend that could potentially feature in the display. To share a story or offer an object contact info@fleetwoodmuseum.co.uk or 01253876621. Please mention you saw it on Visit Fylde Coast!

The Fleetwood Museum Collection

During the coronavirus pandemic, the team at the Museum found new ways for you to enjoy its wonders! From object of the day, to family worksheets, virtual tours and much more.

Paintings

This painting is by Tom Roskell in 1978. It depicts his father on the deck of a Fleetwood Trawler. He first went to sea at the age of 12 and spent the majority of his life as a skipper in Fleetwood. Did any of your family members work on the trawlers?

Fisherman painting by Tom Roskell 1978. Copyright: Fleetwood Museum
Fisherman painting by Tom Roskell 1978. Copyright: Fleetwood Museum

Artefacts

This is some of the First Aid equipment once used on board Jacinta FD 159. Trawling was a very dangerous job and there were often serious accidents and illnesses at sea. The Skipper was in charge of First Aid on board his vessel.

First Aid Equipment, used on board Jacinta trawler. Copyright: Fleetwood Museum
First Aid Equipment, used on board Jacinta trawler. Copyright: Fleetwood Museum

Cutouts and Clothes

This cardboard cut out dates from the 1940s. It used to be an advertisement outside the Victoria Cinema on Poulton Road in Fleetwood. Usherettes would have worn the jacket on the cut out. The cinema opened in 1929 and closed in 1967 when it became a bingo hall. Do you have any memories from the theatre or the bingo hall?

Victoria Cinema cardboard cut out. Copyright: Fleetwood Museum
Victoria Cinema cardboard cut out. Copyright: Fleetwood Museum

And Cookbooks!

This trawler cookery book includes recipes for plenty of hearty meals! The role of a cook on board any vessel at sea is very important. The crew would be working hard so a nutritional meal was vital. This cookbook dates from 1969. 

Trawler cookery book 1969. Copyright: Fleetwood Museum
Trawler cookery book 1969. Copyright: Fleetwood Museum

You’ll see lots of amazing objects and displays about Fleetwood. You can also meet Decimus Burton, architect of Fleetwood (below). See how his vision created the town of today.

Decimus Burton, architect of Fleetwood. Bust on display at Fleetwood Museum
Decimus Burton, architect of Fleetwood. Bust on display at Fleetwood Museum

Jacinta Exhibits on Display at Fleetwood Museum

Visitors to the museum can see this artwork from Jacinta, now on display at the museum. Painted by local artist Keith Sutton in 1969, it shows part of Fleetwood promenade.

Keith Sutton painting, collected from Jacinta fishing boat, on display at Fleetwood Museum
Keith Sutton painting, collected from Jacinta fishing boat, on display at Fleetwood Museum

The painting has a real wow factor because of its size – it’s nearly 2m high and 3m wide!

Ben Whittaker from Fleetwood Museum with the Keith Sutton painting
Ben Whittaker from Fleetwood Museum with the Keith Sutton painting

Sadly, the well-loved fishing vessel ‘Jacinta‘ has been scrapped in its final resting place at Fleetwood dock. If you’ve been to one of the open days on the fishing boat you’ll have seen the impressive collection of artworks and artefacts that were inside the floating museum.

Jacinta Trust has donated many artefacts from the trawler to the Museum. Some items are already on show.

School Visits

The world is changing ever more rapidly and Fleetwood Museum offers and ideal window into the past for today’s young people.

School visits to Fleetwood Museum are hands on and involve active participation and object handling. There’s a variety of different sessions to choose from. Your school could make several visits!

Due to the historic layout of this listed building, access to some areas is difficult. Please get in touch before your visit so your time can be as enjoyable as possible. Assistance dogs are welcome.

Just  get in touch – phone 01253 876621 or email info@fleetwoodmuseum.co.uk – and please mention you saw it on Visit Fylde Coast!

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