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Fleetwood was a purpose built town, a sort of Victorian Welwyn Garden City. Ptolemy's Geographia in the 2nd century AD records a tribe known as the Setantii living in what is believed to be present-day West Lancashire, and a seaport built by the Romans called PORTVS SETANTIORVM ('the port of the Setantii') abutting Moricambe Aestuarium (presumably Morecambe Bay). There is also evidence of a Roman road running from Ribchester to Kirkham (12 miles (19 km) southeast of Fleetwood) which then makes a sharp turn to the northwest. Together, these suggest that Fleetwood may well have been the location of this Roman port. There is evidence that the eastern side of the River Wyre was occupied during the Danish invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries, and by the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, the land on which Fleetwood now stands was part of the Hundred of Amounderness. A manor house at present-day Rossall, in the southwest of the town, was in the possession of the Allen family by the time of Henry VIII. The Allens were prominent Roman Catholics, and Henry VIII repossessed the land. Cardinal William Allen was born at the manor house in 1532. It was ultimately sold to Thomas Fleetwood, comptroller of the Royal Mint, whose son Edmund, expanded the house into Rossall Hall. The land remained in the Fleetwood family for 300 years. By the 1830s, the house and estate was in the ownership of Edmund's descendant Peter Hesketh, High Sheriff of Lancashire and MP for Preston. A man of somewhat liberal views for his time, Hesketh believed that the sheltered harbour and views over Morecambe Bay gave the area the makings of a busy sea port and popular resort for the less-affluent. With no rail link between London and Scotland, He envisaged Fleetwood as the transfer point between the rail and the steamers to Scotland, and set about encouraging a railway link from Preston. With a new career in parliament to prepare for, he engaged Frederick Kemp as his agent. He originally considered naming the new town Wyreton or New Liverpool, but after changing his name to Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood in 1831, he settled on the name Fleetwood. After some delays, he hired the prominent architect Decimus Burton, whose work in St Leonard's-on-Sea he had admired, to lay out what would be the first planned town of the Victorian era. The plans were complete by 1835, and construction of the first buildings and the railway line began in 1836.

 

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. In 1876 it became the private residence of Alexander Carson, who extended the building to the north, and named it "Wyre Holm"; the customs offices were transferred to another building on the same terrace. The building became Fleetwood's Town Hall in 1889. For a short time, it was occupied by a private school and in 1992, it became Fleetwood Museum. The museum reflects the many changes that Fleetwood went through, all with a nautical flavour, from Victorian seaside resort to cargo port with bustling docks, a major ferry terminus and lifeboat station and a thriving fishing port. You can learn all about these different aspects. Due to the seven steps at the entrance There is limited access for people with mobility Impairments as the museum has, at present, no wheelchair access. Guide dogs are welcome and the staff are trained in disability awareness.There are disabled toilets.

 

Location : Queens Terrace, Fleetwood, Lancashire FY7 6BT

Transport: Poulton le Fylde (National Rail) 4 miles away with taxi service, or Blackpool (National Rail) 9 miles away with taxis. Bus routes 1, 14, 74, 84 and 86 and Tramways Star Gate and Fleetwood Ferry stop nearby.

Opening Times: 24th Feb - 31st Oct. Tuesday to Saturday 11:00 to 16:00

Tickets: Adults  £3.00  Concessions  £2.00  Children  Free

Tel: 01253 876621