Your chance to learn about Lancaster Castle's famous prisoners

It’s Local and Community History Month this May - providing the perfect opportunity to discover the varied heritage Lancaster and Morecambe district has to offer.

By Louise Bryning
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 12:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 12:42 pm

This special month aims to increase awareness of local history and encourage communities to participate in activities and events in person or online.

Lancaster City Museum highlights local history all year round and has a special community history case upstairs which has displayed some fascinating collections over recent years. One of the most popular was a potted history of Lancaster’s indoor market.

For May, the case features the work of local artist, Teresa Kirk, who is influenced by historic Lancashire as well as the natural world. She often uses museum collections for inspiration so she was a perfect choice for the case.

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Going to the Sand is just one of two exhibitions to enjoy at Lancaster Maritime Museum during May.

The City Museum’s main exhibition is Morecambe: The Naples of the North which runs until June 12. The beauty of Morecambe Bay and its passing resemblance to the Bay of Naples, led it to become named ‘The Naples of the North’, a title used on railway posters at the time and celebrated in the exhibition.

The Friends of Lancaster City Museum run monthly history talks online and on May 26 at 7pm the subject is Russian lead seals discovered locally.

Emma Holborn from Lancaster Maritime Museum explains how the seals, which sealed the wrappers around flax bundles imported from the Baltic states and unloaded at St George’s Quay in Lancaster, eventually turned up in a field in Yealand Conyers. To book, visit FOLCM on Facebook.

Lancaster’s Maritime Museum can boast two exhibitions running throughout May. By The Water is an intimate selection of work seeing the element of water through the eyes of artists in the museum’s collection while Going to the Sand by photographer Tessa Bunney focuses on the lives of Morecambe Bay’s inshore fishing families.

A talk on the Rogues, Villains and Scoundrels of Lancaster Castle takes place at the Judges Lodgings during May.

And that aspect of local history is also being marked with a Fish and Ships exhibition featuring photographs from the well known Baxter fishing family and fishermen’s clothes at Morecambe Heritage Centre in the Arndale Centre during May.

The month also sees the Centre celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with a special display.

Visitors to the Judges Lodgings on May 7 can enjoy some tasty treats with their history when their pop up tea room, run by the Friends of the Judges Lodgings, opens from 11-3pm.

On May 21, young people are invited to join a free fun scavenger hunt and art workshop at the Judges Lodgings plus a visit to Lancaster Castle. Booking is required at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hope-streets-young-producers-taster-day-lancaster-tickets-316247604097

Morecambe Heritage Centre hosts a Fish and Ships exhibition during May.

Another free event at the Judges Lodgings is a new international collaboration with French artist, Elisa Moris Vai, who will interrogate the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade in France with UCLAN’s Prof Alan Rice on May 24 from 6pm. It includes a chance to explore the period rooms and is followed by a drinks reception. Booking is required via bit.ly/JudgesLodg ingsEvents

The Judges Lodgings busy month is rounded off with a talk on Rogues, Villains and Scoundrels of Lancaster Castle by Dr Colin Penny. Hear about the Castle’s famous and infamous prisoners from highwayman, George Lyon to Peterloo speaker, Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt. The talk takes place on May 27 from 12-1pm and admission is £4 including tea/coffee.

The Judges Lodgings has been working closely with Lancaster Priory on the Facing the Past project, focused on the city’s links with the slave trade.

On May 20 from 7pm, the Priory hosts Lancaster, Christianity and Transatlantic slavery – A conversation chaired by Manchester Cathedral Dean Rogers Govender involving Lancaster Black History Group and Lancaster Quakers. The main purpose of this free event is to bring together similar examinations of historical research such as Lancaster Quakers, Decolonising Lancaster and Facing the Past.

The legacy of the transatlantic slave trade in France is the subject of an international collaboration at the Judges Lodgings on May 24.

Migration of different kinds is the subject of Global Link’s current heritage project which continues in May when volunteers will visit local archives and museums to research and document stories of people who migrated in and out of the region from the Romans to the present day. More information on Migration Stories NW is available at www.migrationstoriesnw.uk

The 40th anniversary of the Falklands War will be commemorated at their AGM by Lancaster Military Heritage Group when former RAF Squadron Leader Brian Jefferson gives a talk about long-range ground attack missions by RAF Vulcan bombers against Argentine positions in the Falklands in 1982. Anyone interested in attending on May 11 at 7pm in the Lansil Sports and Social Club should contact Brian on 07876 710565.

As well as being interested in the past, Lancaster Civic Vision also has an eye on the future and for May, has invited Lancaster City Council’s new chief executive, Mark Davies, to give an online talk about his vision for the district.

The talk on Zoom at 7.30pm on May 18 is for members only and membership is £15 single and £25 joint. For details visit the Contact & Join Us page at http://www.lancastercivicsociety.uk/contact/ or email [email protected] All meetings are recorded and made available for members who unable to attend and/or non-members at http://www.lancastercivicsociety.uk/monthly-meetings-recordings/

So Local and Community History Month has plenty to offer anyone interested in the Lancaster district, past, present and future and should also inspire those planning ahead for Heritage Open Days which take place this year from September 9-18.

This year’s national theme is Astounding Inventions but events can cover any subject, as long as they are heritage-related but they must be registered by August 1 at https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/organising/how-to-get-involved

Morecambe-The Naples of the North exhibition runs throughout May at Lancaster City Museum.

Lancaster City Council is helping to promote Heritage Open Days events via a printed booklet and online channels using the details registered on the national Heritage Open Days website.

*For more details on the district’s heritage attractions and events, go to https://visitlancaster.org.uk/ and https://exploremorecambebay.org.uk/ or email [email protected]

The local link to Russian lead seals are the subject of an online talk hosted by the Friends of Lancaster City Museum on May 26.
Lancaster City Museum's community history case with its current display by Teresa Kirk.