Heather Davis with County Councillor Peter Buckley

Historical items celebrated to mark council’s 50th anniversary

What does a 500-year-old pilgrim badge have in common with a 20th century cheesemaking machine, or a roman spear?

They have all been chosen to feature in a new exhibition to mark 50 years of Lancashire County Council. 

The very first object chosen to launch the exhibition was announced yesterday – two sets of carved doors from the County Council’s headquarters in Preston. 

The doors, on the Chapel building, have ornate cast bronze door panels depicting aspects of Lancashire industry including coal mining and aircraft construction. 

Each inlaid panel embodies the spirit of Lancashire, from its wildlife to its rich agricultural past, from fisheries and ports to the seaside resorts, by featuring one of the main rivers running through the region.  

Every Wednesday until March 2025, a new object will be announced and go on public display in libraries and museums across the county, telling the story of historical Lancashire and its communities. 

These 50 objects will be promoted on the county council’s website, @LancsMuseums Facebook and X pages, and other council social media pages. 

Heather Davis, Conservation and Collections Manager at Lancashire County Council, said: “We are incredibly excited to launch this project, which tells the story of Lancashire. A lot of planning and preparation has been put into making sure these objects reflect the communities from which they originate. 

“The carved doors are close to the hearts of those of us who work in County Hall and felt like an appropriate monument to 50 years of the County Council. From next week, objects will be on public display and we really hope people will travel to libraries and museums to enjoy the stories contained within.” 

Items will originate from across the historical county of Lancashire and will be displayed in every district, as well as Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool libraries. 

Additionally, Lancashire Libraries will be hosting 50 author’s book displays: a selection of books by authors who were born or who have strong connections to Lancashire. Some of the authors on the list have been invited to talk about their books at “Meet the Author” events in libraries. There will be performances from The Lancashire Society at selected libraries, which will include Lancashire song, music, dance, poetry and the spoken word. 

Libraries, Museums and Archives staff from the Council have been making sure the libraries exhibit appropriate conditions for storage of the items, including monitoring humidity and light levels. Once placed in a library, the items will be available to view for at least ten weeks to ensure displays are sent to as many parts of the county as possible. 

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for Community and Cultural Services, said: “Our skilled team in Cultural Services have given much thought in compiling such an eclectic range of objects showcasing the rich heritage of our wider Lancashire community.  

“We would encourage people to keep up to date with this project on our social media channels and visit our brilliant libraries and cultural venues to learn more about our shared histories. 

“Many thanks to the knowledgeable and hard-working staff in the Museum Service who have put this programme together.” 

The County Council has been serving its communities in its current form since 1974. The weekly objects will be the first in a series of events hosted to mark the 50th anniversary of the council's formation, including: civic events; a future forum with prominent thinkers, leaders, and innovators; and a Public Open Day, where the public will be invited inside County Hall to tour rooms of historical significance. 

County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “These objects tell the story of our unique county and its communities. This Council has been providing fantastic services to support all these communities for half a century and will continue to do so for many more years.”  

For more information on 50 years of Lancashire County Council visit 50 years of Lancashire County Council. For updates on the 50 objects campaign throughout the year, follow the #50LancashireObjects hashtag, or visit 50 objects

Notes to editors

The pilgrim badge was found in Walton-le-Dale. It dates from the early 1500s and originates from Germany. The badge will be on display in Chorley Library from Wednesday, 29th May. 

Gornall's Patent Cheese Maker was invented by a dairy inspector from Pilling specifically for making Lancashire cheese. This unique method and blend of curds is now recognised with Protected Designation of Origin status and only made in the county.  It will be on display at Garstang Library from Wednesday, 12th June. 

The Roman ‘pilum muralis’ was found in a ditch at the Roman fort in Kirkham. It was part of a network of forts built across Lancashire in the 70s AD and will be on display at Kirkham Library from Wednesday, 31st July.