On Tuesday morning 2 September, sporting celebrity and former captain of the England rugby union team, Bill Beaumont, was invited to formally re-open the fully refurbished Lancashire Infantry Museum at the Fulwood Barracks in Preston. Roger Goodwin from the board of trustees of the museum told us that “a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into the four years of hard work to complete the refurbishment”.
Among the many distinguished guests were the Mayor and Mayoress of Preston, Nick and Barbara Pomfret, and also the Mayor and Mayoress of Warrington, Ted and Mavies Finnegan.
The re-opening ceremony was initially performed by the chairman of the board of trustees, Lieutenant Colonel John Downham who gave thanks to the many people involved in the project; he gave a special mention to Jason Bramwell for all the joinery work along with Paul Greenwood from Norwyn photography and video productions for lighting panels and computers, the numerous volunteers who gave many hours of hard work and their skills to fulfil the project and of course, the ladies of the National Association of Decorative & fine Arts Societies (NADFAS).
It was acknowledged by John Downham that the refurbishment was only made possible because of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent fund, civic grants and the fund raising by the many supporters of the museum.
In inviting Bill Beaumont to officially cut the ribbon, John Downham gave an insight into Bill’s connection to the museum and Lancashire; his grandfather, Harry Beaumont who was a lieutenant in the Loyal North Lancashire regiment was one of only four officers involved with the defence of the Diyalah River crossing in Mesopotamia during 1917 that saw one hundred Lancashire soldiers trapped; however, they managed to hold off the Turkish soldiers advance. For this, Harry Beaumont received the Military Cross.
Speaking to Bill Beaumont later he told us that he was “honourably humbled to be asked to be present today and more so to be conducting the re-opening ceremony”.
The following video by Gary Cunliffe of The Yellow Factory shows clips of the refurbished museum and summarises the re-opening ceremony.
You can find out more on the Lancashire Infantry Museum website about what’s on, services they offer, location and opening times.
Review and photographs by Paul D. Swarbrick and Gillian A. Lawson.
Have you been to the Lancashire Infantry Museum yet? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.