Media releases

Copeland residents to enjoy museum for free

21 July 2021

For Immediate Release

COPELAND residents can now experience Whitehaven’s fantastic Beacon Museum for free.

A grant from Cumbria County Council’s Community Grant Fund means that people who live in Copeland can visit the museum free of charge every Thursday until the end of August.

The entire four floors of discovery and history will be open at the harbourside attraction. Residents can experience Medieval Medicine, discovering the often-gruesome medical cures used in the past.

They can also play a Roman board game, present a weather forecast or steer a digital ship. There is a chance to learn about the Lowther dynasty through the animated family timeline and play digital dress-up with costumes inspired by the Beacon’s collection.

Residents just need to provide proof of their address (for example, an ID or utility bill,) and no booking is required. Children must be accompanied.

Copeland’s portfolio holder for the Beacon Museum, Coun Steve Morgan, said: “This is fantastic news and we’d like to thank the County Council’s Community Grant programme for making this possible.

“With the newly revamped floors, there is something for everyone to experience and explore at the Beacon Museum. It’s an opportunity to learn more about our history and culture as we enjoy safe staycations in Cumbria. And to have access to this fantastic collection for free is great news for everyone.”

Entry includes access to the current Harbour Gallery photographic exhibition, Rediscover Copeland – a trip through Copeland in the 1950s and 60s through the work of local photographer, Ivor Nicholas.

The Beacon Museum is open to Copeland residents for free on the following dates:

*Thursday July 22
*Thursday July 29
*Thursday August 5
*Thursday August 12
*Thursday August 19
*Thursday August 26

The Beacon Museum is still working to keep staff, visitors and the community safe and although booking is not required, staff might need to manage numbers in the building. All staff will be wearing face coverings and the museum recommends and expects that visitors do the same, unless they are medically exempt.

For more information, call the Beacon Museum on 01946 592302, or visit

This project was made possible with a Cumbria County Council Community Grant. For more information, click here:


Museum visitors invited to rediscover Copeland’s history

30 June 2021

For Immediate Release

A photographic trip through Copeland in the 50s and 60s is on offer for Whitehaven museum visitors.

The work of local photographer, Ivor Nicholas, showcases Copeland’s towns and villages in the 1950s and 60s.

Mr Nicholas’ career spans seven decades and he has taken over 25,000 negative images. Many of his works feature black and white imagery of Copeland’s towns including Whitehaven, Egremont, and Millom.

He spent much of his career with the Cumbrian Newspaper Group and ITV Border where he was also behind the video camera.

Ivor, who is now in his eighties, said: “I’ve had an interesting career, but you rarely realise the significance of images for local history at the time you take them.”

Stationed at RAF Gibraltar in 1953, he was given the chance to enter the National Service as a photographer because of his civilian interest and skills.

Local wine merchant, Gerard Richardson MBE, who helped create the exhibition, said: “I met Ivor in 1999 while organising the Whitehaven Festival.

“When Ivor was sent on a job by the newspapers, he not only took the pictures he was asked for, but also others of the areas he travelled through – and I’m very glad he did.

“Ivor is one of the custodians of the local area’s past, and sometimes forgotten, landscape.”

In addition to Ivor’s fascinating pictures from the 50s and 60s, there will also be Copeland images dating back as far the 1890s from the Sankey family. These have been curated as part of a volunteer project with Signal Film and Media.

Alan Gillon, Learning Officer at The Beacon Museum, said: “The Rediscover Copeland exhibition is a fantastic collaboration from Ivor Nicolas, The Beacon Museum and selected images from Signal Media who have been working with volunteers to archive images taken by Edward Sankey and his sons.

“The Sankey family took thousands of images around the area from the late 1890s to the early 1960s, some of which have never been on display.

“The planning by Gerard Richardson to bring together such an emotive exhibition I am sure will rekindle long forgotten memories for some and be a complete surprise to others.”

The Rediscover Copeland exhibition will be on display at The Beacon Museum from July 10 to October 3.

For more information on the exhibition visit


14 June 2021

Copeland Borough Council: Gruesome medical cures await Whitehaven museum visitors.

For Immediate Release

THE world of medieval medicine is on offer for daring Whitehaven museum visitors.

From Saturday, June 19, visitors will be able to discover the often-gruesome cures used in Medieval England by five historic medical practitioners at The Beacon Museum, Whitehaven.

The tales of the barber surgeon, an apothecary, the cunning woman, a religious figure and a physician showcase the archaic and diverse approaches to medical treatment in the middle ages.

The arrival of these healers marks the launch of the museums ‘Medieval Medicine’ exhibition. A touring exhibition from The JORVIK Group of Attractions, operators of the award-winning JORVIK Viking Centre.

With a physician’s uroscopy wheel, an apothecary’s table and the barber surgeon’s tool chest, there’s plenty of ways to discover the methods practiced in medieval times.

Visitors can learn more about disease, illness and treatment through three medieval skeletons on display, including one who shows signs of leprosy. On individual is accompanied by a facial reconstruction, helping visitors understand about how they may have looked as the disease developed.

The exhibition also brings an exclusive short film, written by Terry Deary – author of the Horrible Histories series – entitled A Touch of Plague as part of the family-friendly content on offer.

Heather Holmes, Customer and Visitor Experience Manager, at The Beacon Museum, said: “We are thrilled to have a JORVIK exhibition, once again, at the museum.

“Visitors can explore various historical medical practices, delve inside a barber surgeon’s tool chest or investigate a physician’s uroscopy wheel.

“The exhibition is family friendly and there’s activities on offer for everyone to enjoy.”

The exhibition runs from June 19 to September 5, 2021. Contact the Beacon Museum for further information on 01946 592302 or at





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