Fleetwood Museum

Fleetwood Museum

Fleetwood Museum is the only officially accredited museum on the Fylde Coast and is unique within local heritage tourism

It was originally built as the towns Custom House, then became the council office and later the town hall when Fleetwood became a borough in 1933.

Supported by more than 60 volunteers, the past is brought to life at Fleetwood Museum – it’s real history with real people!

Fleetwood Museum

You can use the excellent Coffee House and Museum Shop without paying for Museum entry.

Why don’t you take a group trip or hold an event there? It can be arranged during the day or in the evenings, with or without catering. Please contact the Museum for details on 01253 876621 (and please say that you saw it here!)

Fleetwood Museum re-opens on 27 March – 30 November 2018.

Opening hours: 10.30am-4pm from Tuesday to Saturday and Bank Holiday Weekends.

What’s on at Fleetwood Museum – details about events here


Fleetwood Museum Cafe and Shop

Why don’t you pop into the Museum and have a coffee and a piece of cake, and then call into the shop for a browse?

Fleetwood Museum Cafe and Coffee Shop

You can use both without paying Museum admission fees.

In the cafe you’ll find great cakes and a full range of drinks. In the shop you’ll find all kinds of nice gifts – with plenty of local history books and unusual things that you just won’t find anywhere else.


Fleetwood Grammar School Stained Glass Memorial Window

Alongside the delicious cakes, the one feature that you can’t miss in the cafe at Fleetwood Museum is the huge stained glass window on the back wall.

Fleetwood Museum Cafe

This beautiful piece of stained glass was once in the sixth form study at Fleetwood Grammar School. When Fleetwood Grammar School closed in 1977 the window was taken into storage in Preston by Lancashire County Council Museums Service. 

When the coffee shop was opened in the Museum in May 2010 it provided an opportunity to re-site this beautiful window. Fleetwood Museum Trust made an appeal for funding which the newly formed Fleetwood Town Council generously contributed to, along with local groups and ex grammar school students. 

History of the Fleetwood Grammar School Stained Glass Memorial Window

The Fleetwood Grammar School stained glass Memorial Window is a tribute to the 25 former pupils who lost their lives in the Second World War (1939-45).

The work was commissioned and paid for (by subscription) by the Old Scholars Union for Fleetwood Grammar School. It depicts the horrors of war and the motto “Cogitate Altiora” (Think on higher things).

The window was originally unveiled on Sunday 31 May 1964, and dedicated to those Old Scolars who had lost their lives.

It was specially designed by Mrs A Howarth, the senior art mistress (and a former pupil) at Fleetwood Grammar School. Some of the pupils helped to enlarge her original design to its full size – 10ft x 6ft. The vivid stained glass window itself was made by Blackpool firm Beaumont and Parkinson.

Why don’t you call into the Museum and have a look at it?


History of Fleetwood Museum

The museum is located in the heart of the Victorian new town, easy to find on the promenade on Queen’s Terrace and with surrounding free parking.

Fleetwood Museum on Dock Street

Fleetwood Museum was financed by the town’s founder Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood and designed by the eminent architect, Decimus Burton.

The museum occupies Fleetwood’s oldest complete building, the original Custom House, dating back to 1838. It retains many of the original features, including this impressive original tiled floor which greets visitors in the entrance.

Entrance floor and original tiles at Fleetwood Museum

The Custom House originally stood on its own, surrounded by gardens at the sides and at the back of it.

‘Wyre Holm’ was first added, then in the 1890’s it became the local council office. When Fleetwood became a Municipal Borough in 1933 it became the Town Hall. Many thanks to Museum Trustee Dick Gillingham for providing this photo of Fleetwood Museum in its Fleetwood Urban District Council days.

Fleetwood Museum in its Fleetwood Urban District Council days

In 1991 the old Town Hall building was converted into the Fleetwood Museum that we know today. Take a little look inside…

History of the Fleetwood Museum Collection

Fleetwood Museum itself began in the early 1970’s as a local history collection in the Dock Street Library (Fielden Institute).

Former Fielden Institute on Dock Street

The Margaret Rowntree Room was first established as a permanent showcase. (She was Fleetwood’s first female Mayor). 

Then in 1982, which was Maritime England Year, the ground floor and basement of Dock Street Library was converted into Fleetwood Museum. It was mostly a maritime history collection, which was moved to the present site in 1991.

The Burton-designed buildings around and near to the museum form the most impressive collection of heritage buildings in the Borough of Wyre.

Fleetwood’s image as a working seaport has detracted from these architectural gems, which in a more ‘genteel’ location would have won far greater acclaim.

One of the outstanding features of Fleetwood Museum, frequently remarked upon by visitors, is the huge volume of knowledge possessed by the volunteer guides. 

There’s a rota of fifty volunteer staff, most of them are proud Fleetwood residents but there are also volunteers from Thornton, Cleveleys and Poulton. The joint fund of knowledge relating to Fleetwood and its history is immense.


Fishing History at Fleetwood Museum

Fleetwood Museum is also home to Harriet, the last surviving fishing smack that was built and registered at Fleetwood, and is being preserved for future generations at Fleetwood Museum.

Harriet fishing smack, being restored at Fleetwood Museum

In 2015, Harriet was added to the National Fleet List – the list of major historic vessels in the UK.

The deep sea fishing galleries are often staffed by ex deep sea fishermen, who bring real life experience to visitors. 

More about Fleetwood Museum

The museum is located in the heart of the Victorian new town, easy to find on the promenade on Queen’s Terrace and with surrounding free parking.

Inside the museum you can find out all kinds of fascinating things about the past of Fleetwood, the fishing industry, and the surrounding area.

Fleetwood Museum displays

You can discover more about Fleetwood’s heyday as a Victorian seaside resort, its cargo trade, ferry services, its lifeboats and brave lifeboat men, about the docks, the invaluable and heroic role trawler men played during the wars, the chemical giant ICI at nearby Thornton and much more.

Two galleries also tell the fascinating story of Fleetwood’s hugely successful endeavours at deep sea fishing and inshore fishing.

Fleetwood Museum displays

The exhibitions tell the story of Fleetwood’s unique and fascinating history. Find out about Lancashire’s first planned Victorian seaside town and its development throughout the two last centuries.

It’s an amazing collection of images and objects, all related to Fleetwood. Explore local entertainment, recreation, shops, business, sport, streets, buildings, railway, fishing, docks and more.


Find out More

Harriet Fishing Smack, at Fleetwood Museum

Saving Fleetwood Museum

What’s on at Fleetwood Museum – details about events here
(NB. Talks are held in the Upstairs education Room accessed only by several flights of stairs)

Dock Street Library (Fielden Institute)

Statue of Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood

Links to External Websites

Join Fleetwood Museum Trust and Friends on Facebook here

Entrance to Fleetwood MuseumFleetwood Museum

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