Helena Thompson MuseumHelena Thompson Museum

Workington's local history museum


For further information, please visit the Helena Thompson museum website


The Museum

Helena ThompsonThe building in which the museum is housed was originally known as Park End House. It was left to the people of Workington in 1940 by Helena Thompson, a local philanthropist whose family had been connected to the building from the late 18th century. In her latter years Helena gave away much of her inherited wealth to charitable causes, improving the town's amenities and in founding a maternity ward in Workington Infirmary. In order to form the basis of a museum collection Helena bequeathed the contents of her home, which had been described a few years before her death as one of the loveliest in Workington. In line with Helena's wishes for the museum to be a meeting place for local women, the museum is still used today by groups of local lace makers and women's groups who meet and exhibit regularly.

Workington HallThe Museum is split into five permanent galleries with an additional Exhibition Hall for temporary exhibitions. The five galleries are the Costume Gallery, the Victorian room, The Georgian Room, the Curwen Room and the Long Gallery.

These rooms carry examples of period furniture and costumes, drawings by Helena Thompson, maritime models and a display on local social history.

Two of the most impressive objects in the collection are the large scale model of Workington Hall, the historic seat of the Curwen family, and The Clifton Dish.

"The Clifton Dish, which was made in the first half of the 18th century and gives clues to the links between West Cumbria and the Staffordshire potteries"

The CollectionThe Clifton Dish

The original collection at the Helena Thompson Museum reflects the interests of the family, and their way of life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and certain subjects in which Miss Helena Thompson was particularly interested. The collection consisted of costume and textiles; antiques and curios; family possessions; portraits and domestic chattels dating from the second half of the eighteenth century. The collection has grown over the ensuing years particularly in the last decade with a broadening of the scope to include particularly local trades, industries, and domestic and commercial life in the later nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A significant photographic collection has been acquired and is currently being catalogued, a large part of this collection is available for the public to view and purchase prints.

Workington Heritage Group

The museum is run by a team of staff and volunteers working for our partner organisation the Workington Heritage Group. They have day to day responsibility for the running and the care of both the building and the collection.

Carlisle City Council logo   Cumbria County Council

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Contact us

0303 123 1702

Allerdale Borough Council
Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ