Lancaster museum makes comeback after flood damage

Maritime Museum, Lancaster.
Maritime Museum, Lancaster.

Lancaster Maritime Museum has partly reopened to the public after being closed for eight months.

The museum on St George’s Quay shut for essential repairs last October and then was damaged by the Storm Desmond floods of December 2015.

The Warehouse part of the museum re-opened on Saturday. However, the first floor of the Custom House building will remain closed as repair work is still ongoing.

County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “We needed to carry out some work to keep the building in good repair. We had to fully close the museum to carry this work out safely, and to complete it as quickly as possible.

“We’re very sorry for any inconvenience due to the museum being closed.

“December’s floods affected the museum as well. The ground floor was damaged and had to to be properly
repaired and cleaned. A counter and some fittings in the shop have had to be replaced and wall plaster needed to be repaired. We’ve completed this work as soon as possible and I’m pleased that visitors will be able to enjoy the Maritime Museum once again.”

The Maritime Museum will be free to enter until it is fully open to the public.

The museum opened in 1985 in the former Custom House designed byrenowned furniture maker Richard Gillow and built in 1764, and an adjacent building known as the Warehouse. Exhibits include fishing boats, ship models and information on Lancaster’s history as a port and its slave trade, as well as on Morecambe’s fishing history.

There were calls last month for the museum to close in a consultants report into the future of local museums. Museum experts Aitken, Prince and Pearce suggested the Maritime Museum could be shut and its exhibits moved to a new seaside cultural heritage centre in Morecambe, although the Customs House could still be used to house items from the archaeological excavations at Quay Meadow.

Since the report was published, Lancaster City Council cabinet has decided to commission a complete redesign of the museums service and explore the options in the report further.