Portland Basin Museum, Ashton under Lyne

by Veronica

At the junction of three canals, a Victorian warehouse stood and was later converted into a free, award winning museum. We had a family day out today.

The Ashton Canal Warehouse, now Portland Basin Museum in Greater Manchester, was built in 1834 and was a transfer point for cargo and goods being taken round England by canal. The museum celebrates all aspects of local life and is beautifully presented with clear information and interactive displays.

The museum has a downstairs, an upstairs and an outside area where narrow boats moor and walks can be taken a long the canal side.

This is a free attraction in East Manchester. The narrow boat trip was reasonably priced as is the lovely café downstairs. Today we visited with 6 adults and 2 young children. The museum appealed to all of us.

I have an extra for love for Portland Basin - I sometimes do freelance work there when schools visit. I love it.

Dukinfield Junction

Peak Forest Canal, the Ashton Canal, Huddersfield Narrow Canal
Portland Marina- Dukinfield Junction
Portland Marina- Dukinfield Junction

The Ashton Canal Warehouse

The Ashton Canal Warehouse built in 1834 was in an ideal location for the transfer of goods from one narrow boat to another.

The boats would enter the warehouse through the arches having navigated one of the three canals and goods were unloaded and reloaded to other barges.

Some of the arches are shown in the photo below.

the old warehouse boat entrance
the old warehouse boat entrance

Upstairs - The 1920's street

Upstairs you will find The Street. This is kitted out like a genuine old street with old shops such as fish and chop shop, pawnbrokers, house, school, church, pub, doctor's surgery. Visitors can go in and experience the history.

The school room

The school room is a big attraction and is popular with schools who visit for a day out and also with members of the public on events days such as today.

The hopscotch is in the yard and visiting school children are invited to play it.

Below you will see the teacher's desk and also the school organ. The desks are in one long line.

The teacher's desk
The teacher's desk
The desks
The desks
Hop scotch
Hop scotch
Hymn time on the organ
Hymn time on the organ

The shop items

Even I remember scales like these and some of the products that are on display. Donkey stones which were made in Ashton under Lyne by Eli Whalley's company  and were used to clean the front step,  are on the shelves too.

The shops
The old grocer's scales
The old grocer's scales
Fish and chip shop
Fish and chip shop
At the pawnbrokers
At the pawnbrokers
The chapel
The chapel
The grocer's shelves
The grocer's shelves

The old house

Visitors stand at the gate and look inside the little house although other exhibits are open access. The children who visit are always surprised there is no refrigerator in a 1920's kitchen.

dimly lit early 20thC house
dimly lit early 20thC house

Time walk

Also upstairs, Portland has a Time Walk, a walk through the people's history of the area starting with the Early Britons who are believed to have been The Setantii in this locality. The Setantii were a sub sect of the larger Brigantes tribe, more dominant in NW England. The gallery exhibits take the walk from Setantii to the execution of  English King Charles 2nd in 1648/9.

Early Briton exhibit
Early Briton exhibit
The Early Briton was probably a Setantii tribe
Normans
Normans
medieval market stall
medieval market stall

Downstairs

Downstairs you will find a time diorama. It's very interesting and is a very long 3D landscape of the area. As you move along it, the diorama changes to show the development from 1600 to modern times and how the area would have looked over the years.

The time diorama

diorama ; early times
diorama ; early times
The diorama ; later times
The diorama ; later times

Outside

The Marina
The Marina

.

I feel very privileged to live so close to a free museum. If you are in the area come for a visit.

Updated: 05/01/2017, Veronica
 
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Veronica on 10/01/2017

mailing you

Dianne on 10/01/2017

Thank you Veronica, it’s Blancsanglier@googlemail.com.

Veronica on 10/01/2017

Hello Diane

If you can let me have your contact details I will do so.

Dianne penn on 09/30/2017

Hi Veronica,
Could you please get in touch with me re The Princes in the Tower and the Portland Basin please? I can’t log on to wizzley for some reason :-(

Veronica on 06/06/2017

Half tiled walls were quite common in Victorian times . I like the looks of them.

I think we should support all local places.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/06/2017

Veronica, Thank you for supporting a free museum! The descriptions and photos, particularly of the marina and schoolroom, make me feel like I'm there. I like the green and yellow color scheme: do you know if it's typical of buildings in general or of schools in particular to have tiled walls? I tend to think of tiled walls with a home's bathrooms and kitchens, but maybe that's just my acquaintance with Romance language-speaking cultures.

Veronica on 05/08/2017

Maybe it's the garment that you wore to accompany me that is unforgettable. :(

frankbeswick on 05/08/2017

Now that you mention it, somewhere in the deep recesses of distant memory vague details of a visit have arisen.

Veronica on 05/08/2017

I have visited Galway and you have married a lady from a West of Ireland. I don't always mean a physical revisit. We revisit our roots in many ways.

And you are totally wrong when you say you didn't know about our grandfather's birthplace as YOU ACCOMPANIED ME to look at catholic church records in the local church and we found his address and several details in the old ledger. Probably around 1984, we went. You were in a big, scruffy, grey- green anorak and I was looking pretty damn gorgeous as ever, 27 years old and standing next to you!

frankbeswick on 05/07/2017

I did not know this fact about our grandfather's birthplace. On the other hand,we have ancestors from the West of Ireland [Sligo, Galway, Limerick.] In what sense have we returned to our roots in respect of these places, for we still dwell in Greater Manchester?


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