Museum of Lakeland Life Collections & Exhibitions

Based in Kendal, close to the Abbot Hall Gallery, the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry allows you to discover how people have lived in the Lake District and how the unique landscape has shaped their lives. It also offers exhibits on Arthur Ransome, one of the Lake District’s most famous authors, and colourful characters.



From Wordsworth to the Web: 200 Years of the Westmorland Gazette. 28 April – 20 December

Here is the news!

It’s served the community for 200 years and now has an exhibition dedicated to its own story. Local newspaper The Westmorland Gazette has been the definitive voice of the Lake District.It has recorded life in the Lakes with stories of its people and places since the 23rd May 1818.

From Wordsworth to the Web: 200 Years of the Westmorland Gazette puts the Wezzy Gezzy into context within the history of printing in Britain.

This exhibition looks at the scoops, exclusives, headlines and deadlines, of this Cumbrian institution. It also considers the influence legends like William Wordsworth and Alfred Wainwright had on shaping the paper.

The importance of press photography will also be in focus with some of the best pictures taken by Gazette snappers over the years.

See an image of film star Joan Collins with giant ‘sea monster pike’ in the early 1980s – as she visited Cumbria to shoot a movie that was never released.

The exhibition also looks at how breaking the news has changed in the digital age and includes:

  • A display of light-hearted stories from the paper’s history
  • An original copy of the Westmorland Gazette from 1818 – its very first year.
  • Correspondence from William Wordsworth about the Gazette.
  • Specially selected printing objects from the Museum’s collection.
  • Items from the Gazette including printing plates and an original printing press.

There is also plently for families to do – get a selfie with some made-up news headlines.

Get to work in our mini newsroom and write your own headlines. Separate real from fake news.

Check out today’s Gazette headlines.

BBC Online coverage of the exhibtion.


Votes for Women: Protest banner goes on show. 12 January – December 2018

One hundred years ago women in Britain were granted the right to vote by the Representation of the People Act 1918. This gave 8.4 million women the chance to choose the people who would represent them in Parliament.

To celebrate this anniversary, the Museum is exploring women’s lives in Cumbria and the history behind their right to vote. The display tells the history of the suffragists and suffragettes and how women fought for their rights. Throughout the museum you can follow a trail of fascinating objects from the collections that highlight the variety and depth of women’s lives throughout Cumbrian history.

In June a-century-old suffragist banner went on show. The banner was carried on rallies and marches more than 100-years-ago as women campaigned for the right to vote.The flag is on loan from Cumbria Archives and is emblazoned with the words “Keswick Urban District Council Prays for Womens Suffrage”. It belonged to Catherine Marshall (1880-1961) who was a key figure in the fight for equality locally and nationally.

Discover Sal Madge who wore men’s clothes and challenged them to wrestling matches, and the orphaned girls channeled into domestic service at the Howard Orphan Home, as well as other intriguing stories. These objects come together to demonstrate that a history of women is a history of complex human beings. A larger story made up of a million smaller ones. You are invited to conclude your experience by casting your vote on poignant topics in the exhibition voting booth, and become part of the evolving story.

The Museum is aware that thousands of men and women were involved in the campaign across Cumbria, and would love to hear from anyone who thinks they might have an original suffragist or suffragette object at home.

If you think you have anything of interest contact


Hardman Collection

The Museum was given nearly 5000 glass plate negatives by Joseph Hardman’s widow following his death in 1972. Taken between the 1930s and 1960s, the photographs record the traditions of Lakeland life, many of which rapidly changed or disappeared during the second half of the twentieth century.

As well as providing access to this fascinating archive the museum hopes that putting the photographs within the public domain will allow us to build information about the people and places pictured.

If you have any information for inclusion in the photograph library, contact, please also include the image reference number(s) in any emails.

More information about Joseph Hardman


Tractor ploughing in Ennerdale, with dogs. Joseph Hardman. Image Ref: 2002.7.015

Further information:
  • Opening times: Monday – Saturday; Opening Times from 1 November 2017 to 1 March 2018 10.30am – 4.00pm; The Museum is closed to visitors from 23 December 2017 – 11 January 2018. Opening Times from 2 March to 31 October 2018 10.30am – 5.00pm
  • Admission: Adult £5.50 (without donation £5); Joint Gallery & Museum £9.90 (without donation £9). Includes access to Abbot Hall permanent galleries until and including Thursday 6 April; Friends, Patrons & Benefactors – free; Children and full-time students – free; National Art Pass 50% Discount
  • Location: Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, Abbot Hall, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 5AL. Tel: 01539 722464 Email