Portland Basin Museum

Opening times: Tues-Sun, 10am-4pm
Closed Monday except Bank Holidays
Free Admission


Tameside Museums and Galleries are part of the Greater Manchester Museums Group. Find out more about our connected history here.Link to External Website

Photo of a Girl with a sewing machine at Portland Basin Museum Photo of Portland Basin Museum Photo of the old house at Portland Basin Museum


Portland Basin Museum is housed within the restored nineteenth century Ashton Canal Warehouse in Ashton-under-Lyne. The museum combines a lively modern interior with a peaceful canal side setting. It is an exciting family friendly museum, with something for all the family.

Enjoy our temporary exhibition, and step back in time on our 1920s street, as the sights and sounds of bygone Tameside are brought to life. Take a look into our kitchen and parlour to find out how we used to live. Visitors can explore the area's industrial heritage and discover what life was like down the mines, or on the farm. Find out more about local crafts and industries and marvel at our historic machines. Younger children will love our 'Nuts and Bolts' educational play area, suitable for children under 5.

Planning a Visit

Portland Basin Museum is situated just outside of Manchester, accessible by car, bus and train. There is a free car park with disabled parking spaces. The museum is free to enter and is fully accessible. The car park is laid with cobbles, wheelchair users may require support to transfer from the car to the museum. Please contact the museum for more information. We offer lots of activities suitable for all ages, please see our events calendar.

Let's Go...

Portland Basin Museum has always been a great place to visit, but now there are walking and cycling routes starting from the museum, showing you what great countryside and heritage there is to discover on your doorstep.

Gartside special project

Original Gartside’s beer to be recreated with help from the people of Tameside

The recipe for a popular beer once brewed by Ashton under Lyne’s famous Gartside’s brewery is being resurrected – with a little help from the people of Tameside.

Portland Basin Museum is working together with artist Magnus Quaife to brew a beer made using the same recipe as Old Tom, a strong dark ale which was popular until the brewery closed down in the 1960s.

Artist Magnus Quaife explained: “I’ve teamed up with a local brewer, Millstone, who will be helping me to make and bottle some beer made to the original Gartside’s Old Tom recipe.

“As well as wanting to hear from anyone who might be able to shed some light on the original Old Tom ingredients, I would also love to hear from people who have memories of Gartside’s and its beers.”

The name of Gartside’s Old Tom is reputedly either a reference to Captain Thomas Gartside, a relative of John Gartside senior who founded the brewery, or the head horse keeper Mr Thomas Bell who served the company from 1876 until his death in 1907.

“This is a different beer from the Old Tom brewed today by Stockport’s Robinson’s brewery. I believe that if a recipe for the Gartside’s version is to be found it will be either at the National Brewery Museum Archives in Burton, or with the Family of Mr Lucas a former head brewer,” said Magnus.

The new brew will be called Old Thomas Bell, named after the brewery’s head horse keeper.

As well as piecing together the recipe and brewing the beer, Magnus will be collecting stories from anyone who has memories of Gartside’s brewery and the drinks it produced. These will be included in a zine which will be published later in the year, at the same time as the revived beer is launched.

People are also invited to attend a series of free workshops at Portland Basin Museum where they can work with Magnus Quaife to create posters inspired by the area’s brewing history. Elements of the artwork will then be used to create labels for the new bottles of Old Tom.

Rachel Cornes, Manager at Portland Basin Museum, said: “Gartside’s was one of the biggest brewers in the region and it employed a lot of people – there must be thousands of local people who remember the brewery or drank their beer.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to do something different here at the museum and to celebrate a part of Tameside’s past which was so significant in its heyday.”

Anyone who has memories of Gartside’s brewery to share can get in touch with Portland Basin Museum on (0161) 343 2878 or via email on portland.basin@tameside.gov.uk.
The workshops with Magnus Quaife will take place at Portland Basin Museum from 11am to 3pm on 27 June, 12 July, 2 August and 16 August. More information about these workshops is available at www.tameside.gov.uk/museumsgalleries/education

The project is part of Meeting Point2, a year-long project led by contemporary art specialists Arts&Heritage. Leading UK and international artists have partnered with 10 museums in Yorkshire, the North West and the North East to produce new artworks inspired by the museums and their collections.
Funded by Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund, Meeting Point2 presents artworks in unexpected places and supports small and medium scale museums to commission artists, who will create a piece of work in response to the venue.
For more information about Meeting Point2, visit www.artsandheritage.org.uk

Portland Basin's Access Statement


The Portland Basin Museum is part of the Quality Assured Visitor Attraction Scheme.

Cultural Events

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Contact Information
Contact by Post

Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Contact by Telephone
0161 343 2878
Contact by Fax
0161 343 2869

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