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Fleetwood Museum

Fleetwood Museum shows off the new frontage in 2021

Fleetwood Museum is Reopening!

Do you love Fleetwood and the Fylde Coast? Why don’t you visit Fleetwood Museum and see the past come to life! 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.

It’s the only officially accredited one on the Fylde Coast – and it’s unique in local heritage tourism.

On this page –

A New Year Begins at Fleetwood Museum

Fleetwood Museum is housed in the oldest used building in the town. Built in the mid 1830s, it’s Grade 2 listed and designed by Decimus Burton. Find out about the history of Fleetwood Museum here.

Having only been open for 10 weeks last year, the Museum is looking forward to opening for the 2021 season on Tuesday 18th May, within Government guidelines.

Opening times are weekly from Tuesday – Saturday from 10.30am – 4pm, hopefully until the end of November. Also open Bank Holiday Monday 31st May – same hours.

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 Exhibitions

The new exhibition this year is ‘This Lass Can’ featuring Fleetwood Women who have made an impact in the town over the years. Many thanks to the ‘Friends of Fleetwood Museum’ group who sponsored this exhibition.

Due to the short 2020 season, the Fisherman’s Friend ‘Take a Deep Breath’ exhibition is still on view. It’s sponsored by Lofthouses of Fleetwood, and very popular. Also on view in the deep sea gallery are artefacts from Fleetwood’s recently scrapped heritage trawler, ‘Jacinta‘.

New Volunteers

Volunteers give their time to help at the museum. The Museum is looking for ex-trawlermen to act as guides in the deep-sea gallery. Interested? Please contact the museum.

Shop & Cafe

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?

Hopefully, a limited service will run from the cafe, subject to guidelines. There is no entrance charge if you would like to use the cafe or look round the museum shop.

Unfortunately, due to Covid, there won’t be any Children’s craft sessions or talks until it is safe to do so.

Don’t forget to visit the second-hand bookshop next to the 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, fiction and non-fiction, priced at 50p each. Children’s books are only 10p each.

Uncovering the Museum…

Great news for the start of a new season, the frontage is 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’ve passed Fleetwood Museum in the last 2 years you’ll 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.

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!

And 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.

Fleetwood Museum was the only one of the five Lancashire museums threatened with closure that was able to reopen in 2018 under local volunteer management. This was made possible by the support of the people of Fleetwood through the Town Council.

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

New 2020 Exhibition

The new exhibition for 2020 is ‘ Take A Deep Breath‘. It’s the story of the world famous lozenge, Fisherman’s Friend.

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

The exhibition is sponsored by Lofthouse of Fleetwood and features the only bottle of James Lofthouse’s original linctus still in existence!

Exhibits from Jacinta

Jacinta, Fleetwood’s last Arctic trawler, is having to be scrapped due to weaknesses in the structure of the hull. Jacinta is a floating museum, berthed in the port since 1995.

Many artefacts from the trawler have been donated to Fleetwood Museum by the Jacinta Trust. Some items will be on show in the deep sea gallery for the 2020 season.

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 being made in lozenge form, what came to be known as ‘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. Visitors to the exhibition will also be surprised to know how popular Fisherman’s Friend is around the world – with some 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. So we’re delighted to be supporting 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!

Visit Fleetwood Museum Online

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

Fleetwood Museum needs YOU!

Looking for Volunteers

Museum trustees are always looking for new volunteers to help in various areas of the museum during the open season.

The Museum stays open and is operated by an amazing team of more than 50 volunteers and one member of staff.

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.

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!

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‘ is being scrapped in it’s 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. Contents and fixtures from the boat will be preserved for future generations. Some items will be on show in the deep sea gallery for the 2020 season.

The Big Building Project!

The exterior of Fleetwood Museum has undergone what you can only call a transformation!

A ‘simple’ redecoration project began at the end of summer 2018 but rapidly became a much bigger job!

Bit by bit, the original splendour of Fleetwood’s former Custom House is being revealed, as layers of paintwork and waterproof coatings are stripped off the facade. As the coating started to come off, extensive cracking and water trapped over the years became apparent.

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

What could have been a nightmare is now a remarkable opportunity to return the building to its original Georgian era appearance as the original historic render, first applied in 1837, has been exposed.

Plus, all the window surrounds, entrance columns and high-level parapets are in the familiar stone of the nearby North Euston Hotel.

Discoveries have also been made during the redecoration to reveal that the old Customs House is one of the most important coastal buildings in the country.

Good progress being made with the renovation of the exterior of Fleetwood Museum. July 2019
Good progress being made with the renovation of the exterior of Fleetwood Museum. July 2019

Events at Fleetwood Museum

There’s usually 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.

Sadly, events at Fleetwood Museum are suspended due to coronavirus.

Regular events normally 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

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

The Museum building itself is one of the earliest buildings in the town. Come and look round 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.

The aim of Fleetwood Museum is to be a place of outstanding historical significance. Educating the young, reminding the old & 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…

Fishing, Chemicals and Salt

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.

Displays about fishing and local industry
Displays about fishing and local industry

Don’t forget to see Harriet

Visit the boatshed to the rear of the main building. Harriet, Fleetwood’s last remaining fishing smack, is housed inside the shed.

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.

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

Fleetwood Museum Shop

No trip to a museum is complete without a visit to its shop. 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

Sir Peter’s Coffee House

Fleetwood Museum also has an exceptionally good coffee shop too. 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 and have a brew and a bite to eat?

Sir Peter's Coffee House
Sir Peter’s Coffee House

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!

While you’re here…

Have a look at the homepage of the Visit Fylde Coast website for more of the latest updates.

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