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Exhibitions at Portland Basin Museum


Let the Music Play

30 March – 9 November 2024

Music has been an integral feature of the Tameside area many years – from brass bands and dance halls, through to rock ‘n’ roll, the beat boom, the folk scene and more. That story is chronicled by “Let the Music Play” – the new exhibition at Portland Basin Museum, Ashton. It’s a celebration of the diversity of musical styles and talent found in the borough. 

Among the items on display is a drum kit used by Pete Simensky, a member of the Hyde/Dukinfield Sixties band The Meteors. They famously supported The Rolling Stones in a series of Manchester-based gigs when Pete received some cherished drumming tips from the one and only Charlie Watts. There’s one of Ashton-born Victor Brox’s instruments and an example of his trademark hats. His award-winning daughter Kyla, a blues singer like her dad, also features.

Stalybridge/Ashton folk group the Fivepenny Piece, who achieved national fame in the 1970s, are included. Loans from the oldest brass band in the world, Stalybridge Old Band, help to explore Tameside’s world-renowned brass tradition. As well as looking at the past, the exhibition also features memorabilia from more recent bands such as Cabbage and Sugar Crease.

There’s a display of the technology used to play and listen to music, stretching from the gramophone and old 78 records to the Echo Dot; a 19th century Morris dancing costume and a look at Mossley organ builders George Sixsmith and Son. Military music is explored through Manchester Regiment instruments and archive items.

The exhibition is free and open Tuesday to Sunday 10am-4pm. 

Let the music play display

Let the music play drums 

The Lady with the Lamp –
Happy 200th Birthday Florence Nightingale!

Florence Nightingale

Photograph by Henry Hering c1860. Credit: NPG London  

The Manchester Regiment

Crimea Medal
Crimea Medal awarded to James Fitzgerald

Wilfred Owen – 100 years on…

Wilfred Owen