This local history and maritime museum is key in preserving and allowing people to discover Fleetwood’s heritage. There’s many displays which are available to view, heavily focused on what life and working conditions were like for fisherman and it conveys a great comparison to how different it is now. The museum is run by volunteers who have a passion for the heritage of the town and involving the community in finding out more about it.
The museum is brilliant for families to visit as it provides a 21st century exploration of the fishing history of the Fleetwood area.
There’s also a small café where you can grab a coffee and a locally baked pastry to wind down at the end of the day. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:30am in an easily accessible location.
The origins of the Fleetwood Museum begin at the old Dock Street Library with a collection of items of interest. By 1976 the collections were so vast and varied that the building was extended to showcase the items and the Margaret Rowntree Room was opened. In 1991 the museum relocated to its current location on Lower Queen’s Terrace, an apt building for Fleetwood’s museum as it was one of the first buildings designed by the town’s architect, Decimus Burton.
Built in 1836, the impressive sandstone building, flanked by Doric columns with elaborate cast iron railings encasing the roof, stood alone surrounded by beautiful gardens. It originally housed Fleetwood’s Custom House and later became home of Alexander Carson, a local importer of foreign clocks, who extended the building. In 1899 it housed Fleetwood’s Town Hall, later housing council offices and a school for a short period.
The focus of the museum, whilst it was at Dock Street Library, was mainly on Fleetwood’s maritime history; upon relocation its focus broadened. The museum has since explored many themes of Fleetwood’s eclectic and substantial history, including Imperial Chemical Industries, inshore fishing, early local history as well as Fleetwood’s impressive maritime narrative. Fleetwood Museum continues to collect items to reflect these themes and illustrate the town’s history.
One of the most impressive items in the collection is the last surviving Fleetwood-built fishing smack Harriet. This wooden vessel was built in 1893 and retired in 1977 before being declared unsafe in 1995. After being passed over to Fleetwood Museum for restoration, it was ready for display in 2009.
Following turbulent times in local government in 2015, the Museum was put at risk of closure alongside a further four Lancashire museums. Passionate members of the Fleetwood Museum Trust, formed in 2006, advocated that the museum remain open. Following a short closure the museum reopened in 2018 as a community museum, run by the Fleetwood Museum Trust and supported by Fleetwood Town Council. The museum continues to offer an evocative programme of exhibitions and events and is a thriving community hub.