Things To Do In Southport When You’re Dead Tired. A Very British Museum.

Now I don’t venture ‘Up North’ that often. I have not much to say about this, and there is no North/South divide snobbery going on here, except I have always thought that anything I can’t eat, drink, see, touch, taste or hear inside the M25 isn’t worth eating, drinking, seeing …etc. We have it all delivered to us on a plate. Of course I have been up there. I have friends all over the country and I like to see them, just generally I try to get them to come down to the fleshpots and they generally do.

Not that Scotland isn’t amazing or that Yorkshire isn’t bleak and beautiful or Rutland isn’t… small… it’s just that I tend to stay closer to home unless I’m popping somewhere hot or culture laden on a cheap flight.

BUT (and yes it’s a big BUT, in fact it’s a BUT worthy of Kim Kardashian) I did find myself, last weekend, in the sunny, sandy salt and vinegar soaked environs of Southport last week having been for a rather fun hen night with my friend Stacey.  Southport, for those of you who like me tend to stay close to home, is a Merseyside Seaside Town and, I can tell you, it’s a far cry from the kind of place Morrissey wanted to drop bombs on. It’s pretty, with your ordinary high street shops lurking under Victorian wrought iron canopies, so even Next and Lakeland look grand, old arcades for shopping-under-glass and the kind of charm you get in Tunbridge Wells or Bath only cheaper, less self-conscious and with vaguely scouse accents. I really took to it and the pièce de résistance, the real reason I am writing about it at is that Southport is the home to the breathtakingly marvelous, eccentric and wonderful British Lawnmower Museum.

I hadn’t expected to go there but I was extremely tired after the champagne fueled excesses of the night before and I just told the the cab driver to take me somewhere calm and interesting. I didn’t expect it to be taken to a lawnmower museum, but here I was. I ventured in. My eyes opened wide and I found myself in a world of lawn husbandry wonder, an Aladdin’s cave of blades, petrol engines and adjustable height settings.

Set up by ex racing driver Brian Radam, it contains has a unique collection of vintage garden machinery and, for example,  features manufacturers who have at some time been involved in the gardening machinery industry – including some surprising names like Rolls Royce, Royal Enfield and Hawker Sidley.

You can book guided tours and the young woman who showed us round was amazingly knowledgeable about Victorian and Edwardian gardening machines.I was introduced to such oddities as a water cooled ‘egg-boiler mower, some of the most expensive mowers in the world and mowers your grandparents may have used.

The pinnacle though, the jewel in  the crown, the glistening 10-blade cylinder mower in the centre of the green sward  is the Lawnmowers Of The Rich and Famous section. Here you can see such priceless and valuable artifacts as Ricard Bacon’s trowel, Nicholas Parson’s Secateurs and Lee Mack’s dibber (the subject of a very funny clip on a television program called ‘Would I  Lie To You’ apparently).

There are of course some notable exceptions and some famous tools I would very much like to see but the collection is fairly comprehensive and for anyone who really wants top know how Brian May cuts his lawn, invaluable.

The Teletubbies watering cans... Tinky-Winky refused to donate for legal reasons.
The Teletubbies’ watering cans… Tinky Winky refused to donate for legal reasons.

Celebrities are actively invited to donate, so. If you are a celebrity, with or without green fingers, it is your duty to contribute to this worthy, and wacky, cause. Please donate any old garden equipment to the museum and join the likes of Princess Diana, HRH Prince Charles, Brian May, Alan Tichmarsh, Nicholas Parsons and …be still my beating heart… .Joe Pasquale.

Yes, for Joe Pasquale’s strimmer, the heart of any serious collection, is on show at this museum. If only for that reason, I urge you to go. It is a very British experience and needs to be experienced and enjoyed by all.   See ya. Holly.

 

 

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