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Tameside Museums and Galleries Service


Collections Overview


What We Collect

Tameside Museums and Galleries Service collects objects and art which are either made in Tameside or have strong connections to the area.

To find out more about our individual collections you can follow the links below


Civic Silver

This impressive collection of silverware has been gifted over the past two hundred years to the nine towns that now make up the borough of Tameside. The cups, trophies, candelabra, caskets, chargers, maces and commemorative trowels celebrate local events. There are also chains and medallions that were worn by the mayors of each town. The collection can be seen on display in the foyer of Ashton Town Hall.


We hold the Radcliffe collection of Egyptian, Greek and Roman archaeology. The items were collected together by local cotton mill manager Mr Bramley Norman Radcliffe throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They were presented to the newly created Astley Cheetham Art Gallery in April 1933 by his widow.

There are 100 objects in the Egyptian collection including bead jewellery, pots, amulets, small figures, pieces of Coptic cloth, a funerary cone and part of a face mask. Most of the objects can be seen on display at Astley Cheetham Art Gallery in Stalybridge. The Roman collection of 25 items includes ceramic pots, glass vases and bowls and can be seen on display at Setantii Museum in Ashton. The Greek collection consists of 20 items such as bowls and small statuettes and is currently in storage.

Local Life

Our Local Life collections comprise over 16,000 objects relating to the social and industrial of Tameside. Only a percentage of the museum’s collections are on display at any one time. Some objects are on permanent display, others are displayed in temporary exhibitions and others are used for education. When not on display, the objects are kept safely in our stores.


The Archaeology collections include prehistoric tools as well as material from excavations at Denton Hall, Dukinfield Hall and Haughton Green glassworks.

Home life

This is the largest area of the museum service’s collection and covers a wide range of objects from the past 200 years. The collection includes many domestic objects such as washing machines, cookers, mangles, dolly tubs and flat irons. We also hold furniture, radios, televisions, record players, sewing machines, typewriters, cameras, toys and games, sporting objects, royal memorabilia, bottles, crockery and commemorative medals.

Industrial history

The museum service holds a large number of objects relating to local industries and companies, much of which is on display at Portland Basin Museum. Large pieces of machinery include a National Gas and Oil engine, a Joseph Adamson crane, clog making machines from John Summers, a Joshua Heap screw threading machine, engineering lathes, and JF Bateman’s original valve and gearing mechanism from the Longdendale reservoirs.

Tools relating to local cotton, mining, hatting, gloving, clogging and printing industries can also be seen on display, with many more kept in storage.

The museum service also collects objects relating to local companies past and present, such as Senior Service’s cigarettes, Christies towels, Robertson’s jam, Williamson’s tickets, Ely Whalley’s donkey stones, Jones’ sewing machines and many more.


 We hold a varied collection of clothes and accessories. Highlights include a Victorian wedding dress, a dress worn by the local Cotton Queen in 1930, a Whit Walks dress, a jacket worn by local mill owner and philanthropist J.F Cheetham, 1950s dresses and locally made hats, gloves and clogs.

Natural History

The Natural History collections include 100 mosses collected by Jethro Tinker of Stalybridge, over 2500 pressed plant specimens from various local collectors, 120 birds’ eggs and 3000 shells collected by Charles Moore of Stalybridge, and 600 rocks and fossils collected by Robert Jackson of Mossley.

The specimens were all collected over the past 250 years. This was the time of the Industrial Revolution, with more and more of the countryside being swallowed up to build factories, houses and roads. People took a keen interest in documenting the natural world around them and collecting plants, rocks and shells was one way to hold on to nature. Local societies, such as the Stalybridge Naturalists Society, were formed, with members enjoying excursions to the seaside and rambles across the moors. Many of the specimens were collected locally on the moors or by rivers. At the same time, the growth of the British Empire meant there were always new places to explore and new species to be discovered.

If you would like more information or you have an object you would like to donate to the Museum and Galleries Service, please contact 0161 342 5480
View our Acquisitions and Disposals policy.



Contact information

Send us a message
0161 342 5480
0161 343 2869
Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
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