Quirky, full of character and the venue for some internationally recognised exhibitions, Leyland’s museum has been chosen as one of 70 objects that tell the story of Lancashire.
The timber-framed Tudor building, which was once home to the town’s grammar school, has been recognised as a playing a key role in the history of the county.
The accolade has come from Lancashire Life magazine, as part of its 70th anniversary celebrations.
South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre, as it is formally known, was acquired by the council and opened to the public in 1978.
Since then it has hosted events and exhibitions ranging from talks and children’s workshops to displays of local art and the hugely popular 2016 display of First World War photographs, which brought interest from radio, television and historians around the world.
Curator David Hunt said there was a huge response from visitors who were asked for their ideas on the best object to nominate from the museum. He said: “Overwhelmingly they suggested the museum itself – and why not. Although the building is no longer a school, it’s still involved in educating the public, young and old, and is still very much at the heart of the community.
“It’s much loved by residents and has grown from small beginnings to a place with an international reputation for its exhibitions.”
Among the current selection of items on display is an engraved silver posy ring, the two halves of which were found by metal detector enthusiasts several years apart and donated to the museum earlier this year. There are also items from the Cuerden Hoard, discovered on the bank of the River Ribble at Cuerden in 1840.
Cllr Phil Smith, portfolio holder for Regeneration and Leisure, said: “South Ribble Museum and Exhibition Centre is a real asset both to Leyland and the borough as a whole so this is well-deserved recognition. We have a wonderful team of volunteers who give up a great deal of their time to help in its running and the fact that it is it held in such high regard is due in no small part to them.”
The centre’s current exhibition, The Story of Leyland, which runs until September 30, tells how the rural village, which was for years in the pocket of the Farrington family, developed into an industrial centre.
A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects was launched on August 24 at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston.