Museum of Lancashire
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|Location||Stanley Street, Preston, England|
|Website||Museum of Lancashire|
The Museum of Lancashire is housed in a grade II listed former quarter sessions house (courthouse) in Preston in Lancashire, England. Designed by Thomas Rickman in the Neo-Classical style, building of the courthouse began in 1825. Baines' 1825 History and Directory of Lancashire comments that, 'The prison is on a very large scale, but the Court-house, which is inconveniently situated in the centre of the building, is not sufficiently commodious, and at the general session for the county, held by adjournment on 9 September 1824, the sum of ten thousand pounds was voted by magistrates, for the erection of a new court-house and records office, which are to be placed outside the walls of the present gaol'. Hewitson, in his History of Preston states that the building was erected in 1829 and refers to Mr Rickman as the architect. He goes on to add that a new dome was added in 1849 and in 1870, due to the dangerous state of the dome it was replaced by a ceiling light. It is now one of the oldest remaining buildings in Preston. The Museum draws on the collections of Lancashire County Museum Service to provide an overview of Lancashire history and heritage told through objects and stories of Lancashire residents.
Having undergone a refurbishment during 2010/11 the Museum contains a range of family friendly and interactive galleries to tell the Lancashire story including:
Lancashire Through Time exhibits the County's archeological collections including 4,000-year-old Stone Age axes, Roman artefacts and early industrial items. Lancashire at Play contains highlights including part of the Hylda Baker costume collection and Les Dawson, George Formby and Gracie Fields material. The Lancashire People Gallery focuses on the Lancashire identity and comprises items loaned by members of the public revealing some exceptional hidden histories. Lancashire Law and Order reveals the building's court house heritage. Responsible for the trials of petty criminals between 1827 and around 1900, the Chairman of the Court, Thomas Batty Addison earned the name of the Terror of the Criminal for his no nonsense approach. This gallery also includes items from the Lancashire Constabulary Police collection, charting the development of the force from 1839 to the present day. Lancashire at Work highlights the range of industries Lancashire has embraced from agriculture to textiles, maritime to engineering trades, not to mention Holland's pies and Uncle Joe's mint balls! Lancashire Goes to War is dominated by an impressive and atmospheric World War I trench. It also displays information about the role of women during the war and how we remember our fallen heroes.
The Museum is also home to the collections of the Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry and the 14th/20th Kings Hussars.
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". They were initially to close at the end of March 2016 but that month were reprieved until September 2016. The Museum closed on 30 September 2016, along with the other four Lancashire museums mentioned above, but remained open for pre-booked school groups. As of 8 October 2016[update] Lancashire County Council's website states that "Negotiations are underway with a potential new operator."
- Historic England. "The Old Sessions House (1219103)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
- Baines, Edward (1825), History, directory and directory of the county palatine of Lancaster, Vol II, Wm Wales & Co., Liverpool, p.496
- Hewitson, Anthony (1883), The history of Preston in the county of Lancaster, Chronicle Offices, Preston, p.265
- 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.
- "Lancashire County Council confirms cuts to job and services". BBC News. 27 November 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
- "Reprieve for Lancashire's under-threat council museums". BBC News. 18 March 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
- Sullivan, Nicola. "Five Lancashire Museums in last chance saloon". Museums Association. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
- "Museums". Lancashire County Council. Retrieved 8 October 2016.