Huge restoration project completed reveals Fleetwood Museum grandeur
What started as a simple redecoration project at the end of 2018 became an exciting project to reveal the original splendour of Fleetwood’s former Custom House.
Anyone passing Fleetwood Museum on Queen’s Terrace in the last two years will have noticed the scaffolding and changing patchwork appearance to the front of the building.
But now the scaffolding has been pulled down and the stunning restoration work has finally been revealed.
Fleetwood Museum Trust took over the running of the site from Lancashire County Council in April 2018, and later that year started work to redecorate the front. But large areas of waterproof coatings started coming off, revealing years of trapped water and extensive cracking.
The trust carried out extensive tests working with Wyre’s conservation officer and specialists in historic roofing and stonework.
Under 10 layers of paint coatings, the original historic render could be glimpsed, as first applied in 1837.
And all the window surrounds, entrance columns and high-level parapets were in the familiar stone of the North Euston Hotel.
Conservation specialists carefully removed the modern paint coatings to reveal the original render.
This was then surveyed to identify numerous areas requiring repair and the final stage was to apply a conservation grade system of paint coatings.
“It has been a long journey to get here,” said Keith Porter, chairman of the trust, “but we were determined to do things in the right way.
“We have undertaken vital repairs to the front and made it watertight, but the project has done much more - it has allowed us to reveal many original features that have been hidden for decades and return the building to its original Georgian era elegance. We are delighted with the finished appearance.”
The museum can now look forward to opening its doors to the public and welcoming visitors back to Fleetwood.
Museum manager Ben Whitaker said: “If the government roadmap stays on course, museums can re-open from May 17, so we await more guidelines and hope to be able to announce our reopening date soon.
“Many people will not have seen our new displays from last year, including the Fisherman’s Friend exhibition, new introduction gallery and small Jacinta display.
“Also new for 2021 is a special exhibition celebrating women in Fleetwood called ‘This Lass Can: Stories of Fleetwood Women.’
“And we continue to develop ambitious plans to finally finish the extension to the building that was started in the mid-1990s. This includes rehousing the nationally important historic boats ‘Harriet’ and ‘Judy’ in improved conditions and providing exciting new galleries about Fleetwood and the Fylde coast.”
Fleetwood Museum was the only one of five Lancashire museums threatened with closure that was able to reopen in 2018 under local volunteer management.
This was made possible by the support of the people of Fleetwood through the Town Council.