West Park Museum has a small footprint but a big history. Located in Macclesfield’s West Park — one of the country’s first public parks when it first opened in 1854 — the museum has been open since 1898. It was donated by Marianne Brocklehurst and her brother Peter Pownall Brocklehurst “for the education, refinement and pleasure of the people for all time to come.” The Brocklehurst family played a key part in Macclesfield’s silk industry and their donation means that access to the museum remains free to this day.
Exhibits change regularly, but West Park Museum holds a collection of Egyptian antiquities acquired by Marianne Brocklehurst during her trips to Egypt. There is also a collection of work by artist and illustrator Charles Frederick Tunnicliffe. Born in Langley, near Macclesfield, Tunnicliffe attended Macclesfield School of Art before earning a scholarship to London’s Royal College of Art. Frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy, his work often featured local landscapes and wildlife, and was used to illustrate much loved RSPB books and literature.
The museum itself is a small red brick building set within the beautiful grounds of West Park. While it might not constitute a day out in itself, the historic park also features tended gardens, a playground, the Park Cafe and even a skatepark. Visitors looking to further explore Macclesfield’s heritage should note that West Park Museum is owned by the local council and managed by the Macclesfield Silk Heritage Trust, who oversee a collection of Macclesfield Museums, including The Silk Museum, Paradise Mill, and The Old Sunday School.