• Find out about the Victorian idealism of Fleetwood’s founder, Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood and find out more about his friend Decimus Burton, who designed and began building the new Victorian planned seaside town.
• Come and 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 and much more…
• Two galleries tell the fascinating story of Fleetwood’s hugely successful endeavours at deep sea fishing and inshore fishing. Fleetwood trawlers fished the Artic Seas from Newfoundland to Russia. Discover more about a fisherman’s life and the harsh conditions he had to endure. See how cockles, mussels, shrimps and salmon were harvested from the shallow waters of Morecambe Bay.
• In May 2010, a new modern Coffee House was officially opened in the museum. Next door to the museum shop ,which has a wide variety of lovely gifts and souvenirs for sale, the new catering facility is both stylish and functional. Internet access is available for personal research and the large magnificent stained glass Memorial Window commemorating Fleetwood Grammar School men lost during the war, is an eyecatching feature. Light lunches as well as a range of specialist coffees, beautiful cakes, hot chocolate and teas are available.
The museum occupies the town’s original Custom House designed by the great neo-classical architect Decimus Burton. Burton was engaged in designing the layout of the new seaside town and its most prominent buildings from 1836 until 1843. Originally the building stood in splendid isolation with ornamental gardens surrounding it to the sides and rear. The entrance hall mosaic floor is particularly notable, dating back to the buildings origins. An additional building Wyre Holm was later added to the original on the north side. In the 1890s, the building became the local council office and later the Town Hall when Fleetwood was made a Municipal Borough in 1933.
The museum itself, began as a local history collection in the old Dock Street Library, in the early 1970’s. Eventually permanent showcases were built and The Margaret Rowntree Room – named after Fleetwood’s first female mayor- was established. In 1982, as part of Maritime England Year, the ground floor and basement of the Dock Street Library were converted into Fleetwood Museum. The main emphasis here was maritime history. In 1991 the old Town Hall building was converted and the museum collections moved to the present site.
In 1998, the Fleetwood built fishing smack, Harriet, was rescued from Millom and brought back to Fleetwood. The vessel (listed on the National Historic Ships Register as she is one of the few surviving smacks left in the UK) was built at the Singleton Bros. Yard in Fleetwood in 1893, is on display in a large boat hall to the rear of the Museum. The hall also contains other large dockland artefacts and is currently displaying some historic photographs of the Port of Fleetwood from the historic archive of ABP. A second historic vessel, Judy (originally named Welshgirl and then Millie), a prawner built in Fleetwood at Liver & Wildings in 1904 most likely by the famous boat designer William Stoba, is also in the museum collection but as she is protected by a tarpaulin, she is not currently on display.