Latest News
We've been in the news again!

Choose a news item from the list below. To view just click the title.
Our Reopening Date Has Been Announced

Press Release issued 24th April 2014


The Beacon Museum will re-open with an exciting new chapter after Copeland BC and Sellafield Ltd reach commercial agreement.



Copeland’s premier visitor attraction, The Beacon Museum, is to re-open for the May half term holidays after Copeland Borough Council and Sellafield Ltd reached agreement for it to be jointly run.



The award winning museum will continue to tell the story of Copeland through the geology of the area, the early settlers, right through to the Lowther family’s development of the town of Whitehaven into one of the UK’s most significant ports, through to World War One and Two.



Staff are now working hard to incorporate a new look interactive exhibition on one of the museum’s floors which tells the story of Copeland’s place at the heart of the world’s nuclear industry, from the early pioneers who built and safely ran the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, to the clean up work taking place at Sellafield today.



The museum had been threatened with closure as a result of austerity cuts, but Copeland Borough Council was successful in finding a public sector company to offer the facility a long term, sustainable future.



Copeland Borough Council leader Elaine Woodburn said: “We had to work hard to find an organisation which was prepared to fund The Beacon Museum whilst allowing it to retain its independence as a visitor attraction which can be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike – that was a real deal breaker for us.



“Sellafield Ltd answered our call and what has been produced is a visitor experience that’s bigger and better than it was before, with more to see and do for the young and young at heart, but which retains the integrity and independence that the Beacon is renowned for.”



Sellafield Ltd’s stakeholder relations director Rory O’Neill said:

“Sellafield Ltd is the backbone of the community in West Cumbria, and nuclear has been at the heart of local industry for over 60 years. It is important to us that people get to see that story, told in an interactive way that engages with young and old.



“For us to have the chance to tell the Sellafield story whilst at the same time supporting such a fantastic community asset as The Beacon Museum was too good an opportunity to pass up.



“The new exhibition is honest, engaging and interactive, and best of all it’s in keeping with the other fantastic exhibitions on show in the museum, charting the proud heritage of this part of the world.”



A joint team from Sellafield Ltd and Copeland are now supporting Beacon staff on getting the facility ready to open ahead of the May half term holidays on May 24th. An official opening – complete with a celebrity guest – will follow.

Do you know these people?

Do you recognise any of these people? Is this you?


These photos were taken around 2010/11 by photographer Rob Fraser in South Whitehaven and were on display as part of an exhibition. If we can find the people in the photos, they get to take them home.


But we can't store them forever so please share so these pictures can be reunited with their rightful owners.

E-news from The Beacon

Here is our latest newsletter including details of our latest competition. 

If you would like to subscribe to our newsletter, click here.


What a load of rubbish!

If you see mammoths and sharks travelling round the borough of Copeland, don't panic.  It's just our new exhibition ad travelling around on the side of some of the councils Refuse Collection Vehicles. 


If you spot them, tell us where



Our Exhibitions & Competition Winner in this Week's Whitehaven News

Competition Winners

As we prepare to reopen our doors to visitors for the launch of the blockbuster double-bill Ice Age – Life After Dinosaurs and Shark – Myths and Reality, one lucky child has won their class a chance to visit the exhibition for free.


Elle Jenkinson, aged 9, of St Bridget’s RC Primary School in Egremont, won the drawing competition with her drawing of a two-headed monster.



Four other entries were highly commended and will also be given prizes. These were by Tess Cullen of Thwaites School, Dylan Hodgson of Kells Infant School, Jennifer Eve Gillon of Eaglesfield Paddle Primary School and Evan Casson of Moor Row Community School.


Around 100 primary school children from West Cumbria entered the competition. They created their own magnificent monsters and beasts in the hope of winning the chance for their whole class to come face to face with life-size replicas of giant beasts, superb sharks and unbelievable underwater creatures.


The competition was judged by the Mayor and Mayoress of Copeland, Geoff and Sandra Garrity who said “The children had obviously had real fun creating these amazing pictures.  The imagination and thought that they had put into their drawings really was wonderful.”


We are currently closed to allow for the installation of these breath-taking blockbusters which include life-size replicas of giant beasts and awesome sharks.


Admission to both exhibitions is included in one ticket price; £6.50 per adult, £2 per child (under 5s free) £5 concessions and a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children £15.


During the school summer holidays, weekly monster craft sessions will run on 31st July, 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th August.  Details are available on our events page.

How One of Our 'Treasures' Inspired Copeland Artist

img_7021webOur latest Harbour Gallery exhibition, Treasures, attracted a special visitor when it opened at Easter weekend.


Part of the exhibition is a bronze sculpture of Michael Little, former Whitehaven Park Warden, known to many of the town's people. The sculpture of Michael was commissioned as a result of a borough-wide competition to find somebody worthy of being immortalised in bronze. Egremont born sculptor, Paul Bainbridge, the artist behind the sculpture visited the exhibition and was delighted to spot another sculpture by somebody who inspired him to take up art.



The bust of artist J.D. Kenworthy was created by Mr Henry Speight, also from Egremont, and features in our Treasures exhibition. Kenworthy himself was a noted artist, with the museum collection housing 215 of his works, 3 of which are on display in this exhibition.



Paul chatted to Visitor Host Averil Dawson about the exhibition, which features many paintings and objects from the museum collection not normally on display. He even kindly posed for some photos with his own sculpture and that of the inspirational Mr Speight. Apart from the sculptures on display, Paul said that his favourite part of the exhibition were the paintings of Whitehaven Harbour by Leonard Roope.

'Treasures' in the paper
A teaser of what is coming up in our next exhibition!
Thank you Bailey!

We would like to say thank you to Bailey Crossan (age 6) for this lovely letter of support in The Whitehaven News - and the wonderful picture with it!


Museum Paintings Online

We are delighted to be part of the new Your Paintings website


The Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF), in partnership with the BBC, yesterday (18/6/12) announced that for the first time in history all of the 1,900 oil paintings in public ownership in Cumbria – many of them seldom seen before – are on display on the Your Paintings website for the nation to enjoy.


Your Paintings is a project to create a complete online catalogue of every oil painting in the national collection, at


To help the BBC and PCF identify and catalogue what can be seen in each painting, the public is being invited to ‘tag’ the nation’s paintings. Tagging is fun, easy and you don’t need to be an art expert to do it. The results will allow future users of the Your Paintings website to find paintings of subjects that interest them. Your Paintings Tagger is at

cumbria tourism awards 2010   enjoy england quality assurance
The Beacon West Strand, Whitehaven, Cumbria CA28 7LY | 01946 592302 |

Developed by LTB Media Interactive - CSS - XHTML