Portland Basin Museum

It seemed like only five minutes since the summer holidays but in the blink of an eye half-term was upon us and school was out again. For various reasons we weren’t able to travel anywhere too far, we settled instead for some local(ish) days out, the first of which was at Portland Basin Museum in Ashton-Under-Lyne, not far from the centre of Manchester.

A lucky find, I had never heard of this place before and stumbled upon it browsing the internet for some place to go.

We weren’t expecting too much but I was impressed at first glance with its lovely setting – the museum is right next to a canal inside a restored 19th century canal warehouse.

Entrance was free and surprisingly there were only a few other people inside, we virtually had the place to ourselves.

On the ground floor we found a wonderful recreation of a 1920’s street complete with sound effects.

We looked inside an old kitchen and parlour, Son played hopscotch in the school yard and was a rather firm teacher who (rather too much) delight in making Husband stand in the corner.

There were shops to look inside – we enjoyed the fish and chip shop, the clothes shop and the green grocers..

A church had organ music playing, next door was a pub and after that a doctor’s surgery.

Another area of the museum had extensive displays and information about inhabitants of the local area down the ages –ย  so well done and interesting for all ages.

One level down we found a huge exhibition space all about industry in this area through the years. We learned about clog making, weaving and hat and glove making. Apparently clog fighting competitions were once the thing here. Two people wearing wooden clogs kicked each other in the shins until one could bear it no longer and admitted defeat. Queasy just thinking about it I couldn’t imagine enjoying being a spectator…

We loved the canal boat replica where you could climb on board and see the living quarters up close…

Even Joey from War Horse made an appearance…

A wonderful museum, we had such an interesting afternoon here and Husband and I both remarked we had paid to go into museums that fell far below this place.

We were so long inside we didn’t have time to explore the surrounding area and the canals that run next to the building. So when the sun put in its appearance on another afternoon we headed right back with our bikes and put that to right.

35 thoughts on “Portland Basin Museum

  1. What an interesting museum Joy and so nice that it was free to enter. I like the canal side location too. I don’t think that I’ve ever been to Ashton-under-Lyne – so many places to try and visit! Hope you got your kitchen completed over the holidays too.

    • We’ve lived in Manchester a long time Marion and I had never been there either!! I wasn’t expecting much from this museum but it was such a good one and so well done – educational but fun as well. Thankfully kitchen work is nearly done – it has dragged on a bit but just some little bits and pieces to go now. We moved everything back in again over the last few days and although we love it that is me done with home improvements for a very long time!!

    • I’ve lived for over 20 years in Manchester and only just made it there so do not feel bad!!! It is a great little museum though if you are at a loose end for a couple of hours sometime.

  2. This looks such an interesting museum Joy – I love the social history aspect. It must have been a tough life back in the day and the concept of clog fighting sounds rather gruesome to me! Imagine those on your shins ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Lovely setting by the canal and so good that these old buildings are being put to good use!

    • It’s a gorgeous spot, we discovered it by chance Rosemary but so glad we did!! I’ve lived in Manchester for over 20 years and never been to this part, goes to show what you can find when you are looking. The clog fighting though… makes me shudder just thinking about it.

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