Helena Thompson Museum

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The Helena Thompson Museum, originally known as Park End, was the home of Helena Thompson, M.B.E., J.P., for over seventy years and it was her gift to the people of Workington upon her death, on the condition that it be made into a museum for Workington and the surrounding district.

Miss Thompson’s family had been associated with the house since the late 18th century. Park End was built as the residence of the steward, or land agent, of the Curwen family, whose estates were centred on the nearby Workington Hall. Her grandfather, Benjamin Thompson, a solicitor in the town, acted as the Curwen’s agent and lived in Park End during the early part of the 19th century. After his death in 1839, it became the residence of Edward Stanley Curwen, heir to Workington Hall.

Around 1850, Shipbuilder Charles Lamport, leased Park End for ten years or so, then in 1865 the lease was obtained by Benjamin Thompson’s son, William, a former banker and magistrate for the county of Cumberland. William Thompson returned to his childhood home with his own young family, which included Helena.

None of William Thompson’s five children ever married and Helena, the eldest, outlived them all. She purchased Park End from the Curwen Estate in 1934 so that she might leave the historic Georgian house to the town as a museum and a meeting place for women.

In her later years Helena gave away much of her inherited wealth to charitable causes, improving the town’s amenities and in founding a maternity ward in the Workington Infirmary. In order to form the basis of a museum collection, Helena bequeathed the contents of her home, which a few years before her death, had been described as one of the loveliest in Workington.

It was shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War when Helena died and Park End was requisitioned for use as a hostel for evacuated children. After the end of the war the work of converting the house into a museum proceeded and its doors were opened to the public in 1949. The museum was listed as a building of ‘Special Architectural or Historic Interest’ in 1957 and as such has been aided by English Heritage during an extensive programme of repair.

The museum is owned by Allerdale Borough Council and is run by the Workington Heritage Group Ltd.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Sunday 1.30pm - 4.30pm
Monday 1.30pm - 4.30pm
Tuesday 1.30 pm - 4.30pm
Wednesday 1.30pm - 4.30pm
Thursday, Friday and Saturday closed.

Monday - Friday we are usually open from 10.00 - 5.00 but do not officially advertise these hours as we cannot guarantee to be open due to holidays.

Admission charges


Additional info

The Collection is currently being catalogued. A simple search can be carried out for enquires about our artefacts.

The museum is home to several art and craft groups. It has several rooms that can be hired for meeting.

Fancy getting married in a museum.
The Helena Thompson Museum provides a wonderful atmosphere to a wedding or partnership ceremony and reception. The museum can also be hired for wedding photographs in the Victorian Room and on the Gregorian staircase.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Natural Sciences, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Coins and Medals, Science and Technology, Social History, Maritime

Helena Thompson Museum
Park End Road
CA14 4DE




museum email


Museum Manager



General Enquires and bookings

01900 64040

Museum Office (am best time)

01900 64040


Sorry no fax

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.