Plans for heritage centre in Fleetwood

How the Fleetwood heritage centre could look.
How the Fleetwood heritage centre could look.
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Plans are under way for a new maritime heritage centre in Fleetwood.

Peter Brady, founder of an organsiation called the Fleetwood Maritime Heritage Trust, says the facility will be aimed at people who want to carry out detailed studies into the port’s maritime history.

Frank Colley

Frank Colley

The heritage centre will offer something different than Fleetwood Museum.

Premises in the town have been earmarked for the project and although Mr Brady says he is not in a position to identify the site, he is confident the centre can open in a matter of months.

He said: “The centre is the culmination of over 16 years of serious research work by members of the Fleetwood Maritime Heritage Trust.

“It will present the real story of how Fleetwood has evolved within this sector since the early 1800’s and specifically why today we are a seaport without any ships.

“Particularly how our economy has been tragically run into the ground by the gradual diminution of one or other of the elements of our long-standing trade.

“The Trust was established because of the lack of proper information about how Fleetwood developed.

“We are about to provide for the first time the real story of how Fleetwood has evolved within this field.

“This will be done primarily through a series of books highlighting the ups and downs of this sector.

“It will present information not just on fishing but also the cargo trade and in more recent times the ferry services to the Isle of Man and Ireland.

“Visitors to the centre will be able to sit down and peruse these at their leisure.

“In all there will be 12 published books, each covering a decade of developments in the greatest detail possible. From time to time there will also be exhibitions on specific subjects of this heritage.”

Mr Brady, who lives nearFleetwood town centre, says he did not just want to present the information on a website, but wanted to offer people a fuller experience.

He said: “The internet has its good points but we believe the printed word to be superior. Since the era of the Doomsday Book and the early sagas, scholars have managed to achieve the full learning curve in this manner.”

Mr Brady says the centre will include thousands of photographs to illustrate this information and visitors will be able to access these during their stay.

He added: “When the Trust was established in 1999 there were four trustees.

“Sadly three have in the meantime passed away and are being replaced gradually as the Centre nears reality.

“Within the current band of Trustees, in addition to local people there are now one each from Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

“Both have long-standing connections to Fleetwood and their presence highlights the important role that these nations played in Fleetwood’s development, particularly during the two World Wars.”

Mr Brady is a former trawler manager who ran several operations, including Fleetwood Deep Sea Fishing Enterprise.

He also edited a magazine called Commercial Fishing, but is now retired and is concentrating his efforts on the Trust.

Sadly one of the Trust members, Frank Colley, has just died aged in his late eighties, but Mr Brady says the work will continue.