Whenever I am in South Shore, one of my favourite places to visit is Brooks Memorabilia Museum, above Brooks Collectables, situated on the corner of Waterloo Road and the Promenade.
Entry into this hidden gem is free and it is a real Aladdin’s Cave. The exhibits number over 5000 items and are the result of over 60 years of collecting by the Yates family, who have run the business since 1949.
Brooks Collectables was founded by William Brooks and first opened its doors on Good Friday 1949. ‘ Bill ‘ Brooks was soon joined by his son-in-law, Mac Yates, who was in turn joined by his brothers, Colin and Jim. The Museum was opened in 2009 to mark the 60th. anniversary of the business.
Today, the whole enterprise is run by Mark Yates who gave me a guided tour of the museum and introduced me to his uncle, Mac, who works tirelessly to maintain and restore the exhibits, and who can be found in the museum most days.
The collection is breathtakingly diverse. It includes a 5 ft. replica of Blackpool Tower and a wonderful model of the Open Air Baths which stood where the Sandcastle water park is currently situated. This stunning model was nearly lost and came to the museum in a very dilapidated condition. Over the last few years it has been fully and lovingly restored by Mac Yates, and now takes its place as a centrepiece of the collection.
Also featured are a working road and railway layout and a fully operational tram layout. Both run continuously during the museum day.
There really is something here to interest all the family. I was particularly excited to see the large collection of vintage cameras and a unique 1890s map of Blackpool which measures 10ft. x 14ft. and covers an entire wall.
Children of all ages will wonder at the huge collection of die-cast model vehicles, which includes many rare Dinky and Corgi items. They will also be amazed by the collection of Airfix kits, Victorian and Edwardian china souvenirs, a vintage doll’s house an doll collection, coin and stamp collections and much, much more.
Many of the exhibits are housed in 1950s Broughton and Moore cabinets. Made in Blackpool, these were part of the original shop fittings. One cabinet in particular which fascinated me houses over 800 model soldiers and military bandsmen.
The museum is visited by over 28,000 people each year. During my recent visit I met a family from Germany who had heard of it via the internet and had made a special journey to
Blackpool to take a look!
The museum is open 10am to 12pm, 2pm to 4pm every Wednesday to Sunday throughout the holiday season.
More information can be found on:-
Facebook – BrooksCollectables
Twitter - @BrooksCollector
Next time you are in South Shore do not miss out on a visit to this free attraction (a donation to local charities is appreciated).
You will be truly amazed.