Latest News
We've been in the news again!

Choose a news item from the list below. To view just click the title.
WW1 Learning Opportunity for Schools

Latest Opportunity for Schools -WW1 Activities


There is the chance for both Key Stages 1 and 2 to have their own WW1 demonstration workshops including "Food from the Tenches" demonstrations by John Crouch on either 29th January or 5th March.  Places on these 1 hour workshops will be limited so schools are advised to contact The Beacon Museum's learning team as soon as possible for further information and to book places.


Free assemblies giving a taster of the activity sessions for schools are also available throughout the duration of the exhibition.


Acton Memorial Unveiled

A commemorative paving stone dedicated to Whitehaven's heroic Victoria Cross winner, Private Abraham Acton,  was unveiled yesterday (21st Dec) at St Nicholas' Gardens followed by a reception at The Beacon Museum.


The unveiling was attended by members of the public as well as relations of Acton, who was posthumously awarded the premier award for gallantry for his actions of conspicuous bravery on 21st December 1914.


The museum is very proud to have one of Acton's relatives, Matthew Bland, as a volunteer and now fully fledged member of The Beacon Museum team.


The sttory of Private Abraham Acton's bravery will feature in our upcoming WW1 exhibition which opens on 11th January 2015.

Have you discovered our new blog?
Our latest blog post is now live with lots of Christmas cheer!
Press Coverage of Our Official Launch

News and Star Saturday 31st May 2014


BBC Cumbria


ITV Border

Official Opening Day

The UK’s favourite celebrity scientist, Professor Brian Cox, is coming to Whitehaven to mark our official re-opening on 30th May.

The first 70 people in the queue ahead of the museum opening to the public at 1pm, will have the opportunity to attend an exclusive lecture from Professor Cox, which is suitable for a school age audience. Entrance to the lecture will be on a first come first served basis as seating is limited.


Professor Cox, famed for his hit BBC ‘wonders’ shows, will assist Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Energy & Climate (DECC) as she formally opens the museum’s exciting new exhibition, The Sellafield Story, on Friday May 30th.


The museum is re-opening after a revamp, thanks to a pledge from Sellafield Ltd worth £1.6 million over the next five years.

Professor Cox said: “I'm really looking forward to coming to Whitehaven to visit the museum.

“Science and engineering are vitally important, and Whitehaven has a strong association with both through its historic links with the nuclear industry. Inspiration is the first step towards lifelong fascination, and I can't wait to see just how inspiring the exhibition is.”


The new look Beacon Museum is dedicated to the rich history of the Copeland region, including one floor dedicated to the Sellafield story.


Starting with the area’s geology and early settlers, it goes through history, including the Romans, onto the Lowthers and the development of the town of Whitehaven into one of the UK’s most prominent ports, before moving forward up to the borough’s involvement in the first and second World Wars.

Copeland Borough Council leader Elaine Woodburn said: “It’s very exciting for us to have someone of such standing coming along to the re-opening.


“This is a really exciting time for us as we prepare to re-open the museum and I think the public, both Copeland residents and visitors, are going to love it.


Sellafield Ltd’s stakeholder relations director Rory O’Neill said: “We’ve worked with Brian in the past and were keen to get him involved in the re-opening of the museum.


“Brian is a keen advocate of nuclear because he understands it, and he has strong links with the area as he is involved with the University of Manchester, who of course run the Dalton Institute at West Lakes. We are really looking forward to having him here.


“I think it’s also significant that Baroness Verma is taking time out of her very busy schedule to come and officially re-open the facility. It shows that the government recognise, as we do, the importance of openness and transparency in the nuclear industry.


“Sellafield 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 hear that story, told in an interactive way that engages with visitors young and old.


“For us to have the chance to tell the Sellafield story in an award-winning museum, and community asset, was too good an opportunity to pass up.”


The official opening event takes place from 10am, for invited guests, with the museum open to members of the public from 1pm. CFM radio will be broadcasting live from the museum in the morning, and a more local television star, Britain’s Got Talent’s Professor Boffin, will be outside from 1pm entertaining those queing to get in.


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