Fleetwood Museum

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Fleetwood Museum
Fleetwood Maritime Museum.jpg
Location Fleetwood, Lancashire, England
Coordinates 53°55′29″N 3°00′21″W / 53.9247°N 3.0058°W / 53.9247; -3.0058Coordinates: 53°55′29″N 3°00′21″W / 53.9247°N 3.0058°W / 53.9247; -3.0058
Built 1836
Architect Decimus Burton
Listed Building – Grade II
Official name: Wyre Borough Treasurer's and Borough Housing Departments
Designated 31 March 1978
Reference no. 1072398
Fleetwood Museum is located in Fleetwood
Fleetwood Museum
Location of Fleetwood Museum in Fleetwood

Fleetwood Museum is a local history and maritime museum in the English seaside town of Fleetwood, Lancashire. The museum was originally the town's Customs House and, completed in 1836, was one of the first buildings constructed in Fleetwood. Like much of the town it was designed by architect Decimus Burton. The building is now a maritime museum. It has been designated a Grade II listed building by Historic England.


Fleetwood was planned by local landowner Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood who employed Decimus Burton to lay out the town and design many of the buildings.[1] Hesketh-Fleetwood intended his town to be a major port and Burton designed the Customs House as one of the first buildings, completed in 1836.[2][3] In 1876 it became the private residence of Alexander Carson, who extended the building to the north, and named it "Wyre Holm";[2][4] the customs offices were transferred to another building on the same terrace.[5] The building became Fleetwood's Town Hall in 1889.[6] For a short time, it was occupied by a private school and in 1992, it became Fleetwood Museum.[4]

On 31 March 1978, Historic England designated the building a Grade II listed building.[1] The Grade II designation—the lowest of the three grades—is for buildings that are "nationally important and of special interest".[7]


Fleetwood Museum is on two storeys.[6] It is built of sandstone, rendered with roughcast lime plaster.[8] The front façade has eight ranges of sash windows.[1] The building is accessed from the front through two porticos. Both entrances are at the top of stone staircases and flanked by columns—the south entrance by round Doric columns and the north entrance by square columns.[6][8] Between the two staircases there are iron railings with spear-shaped finials.[8]

At the roof line there is a parapet with ornamental iron decoration and corner finials.[6] Below the parapet there is a blocking course and a moulded cornice.[1]


The fishing smack Harriet, built in Fleetwood in 1893, was moved to the museum in 1998. It is housed in a purpose-built building behind the main museum building. It is registered as a member of the National Historic Fleet.[9]

Threatened and actual closures[edit]

The Fleetwood Museum Trust is a charity established in 2006, with the stated aim "to save Fleetwood Museum from closure".[10]

In November 2015 it was announced that Lancashire County Council would withdraw funding from five of its museums: Fleetwood Museum, Helmshore Mills Textile Museum, Judges' Lodgings, Museum of Lancashire and Queen Street Mill, because of what the leader of the council described as "the financial challenges facing the county council as we deal with relentless cuts to central government funding combined with rising demand for our services".[11][12] They were initially to close at the end of March 2016 but that month were reprieved until September 2016.[13][14] Local supporters are opposing the closure,[15] and Fleetwood Town Council agreed in January 2016 to "register an expression of interest" in funding the future of the museum.[16]

The Museum closed on 30 September 2016, along with the other four Lancashire museums mentioned above, except for pre-booked school groups. As of 8 October 2016 the Fleetwood Museum Trust website stated:[17]

Lancashire County Council is withdrawing funding for the museum and is currently looking into a community group taking over the running of the museum. Fleetwood Museum Trust and Fleetwood Town Council are in negotiations with Lancashire County Council in this respect and are hoping to re-open the museum for the new season on 1st April 2017.

and Lancashire County Council's website stated that "Negotiations are underway with a potential new operator."[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Historic England, "Wyre Borough Treasurer's and Borough Housing Departments (1072398)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 20 June 2011 
  2. ^ a b "Fleetwood Museum — A Voyage of Discovery", lancashire.gov.uk, Lancashire County Council, retrieved 20 June 2011 
  3. ^ Curtis (1994), p. 36
  4. ^ a b Curtis & Ramsbottom (1993), p. 45
  5. ^ Porter (1876), p. 225
  6. ^ a b c d Hartwell (2009), pp. 296–297
  7. ^ "Listed Buildings", National Heritage List for England, English Heritage, archived from the original on 24 January 2013, retrieved 10 July 2011 
  8. ^ a b c Taylor & Payne (2008), p. 43
  9. ^ "Harriet - National Historic Fleet". National Historic Ships UK. Retrieved 11 September 2016. 
  10. ^ "Fleetwood Museum Trust: Charity Framework". Charity Commission. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  11. ^ Kirby, Dean (11 March 2016). "North of England 'at risk of becoming cultural wasteland' with museums hit by austerity measures". The Independent. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  12. ^ "Lancashire County Council confirms cuts to job and services". BBC News. 27 November 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  13. ^ "Reprieve for Lancashire's under-threat council museums". BBC News. 18 March 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  14. ^ Sullivan, Nicola. "Five Lancashire Museums in last chance saloon". Museums Association. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  15. ^ "Trust vows to save Fleetwood Museum". Fleetwood Weekly News. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  16. ^ "Fleetwood Museum - Save our Museum". Visit Fleetwood. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  17. ^ "Welcome to Fleetwood Museum". Fleetwood Museum Trust. Retrieved 8 October 2016. 
  18. ^ "Museums". Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 8 October 2016. 

External links[edit]