Museum & Farm History
The Fylde Country Life Heritage Centre is set out in 10,000 square feet of farm buildings. There are twenty-six major exhibits set out in realistic scenes of shops, rooms and buildings. They cover living, working and leisure. A cottage, blacksmith, clogger, office, dairy, lineshafting, and World Wars 1 and 2 are only part of the wide range of displays.
Most of the collection has been restored to working condition by members of the Fylde Country Life Preservation Society.
In 1974 a group of enthusiasts got together and formed the society with the objective of promoting the history of rural craft, industry and agriculture of the Fylde area. A unique area of lowland including the towns of Fleetwood, Blackpool, Poulton le Fylde, Lytham St Annes, Kirkham and Garstang.
In 1990 the members of the society decided to set up a permanent base for their larger exhibits and a museum was started on a farm in the countryside near Garstang. After six years of success including being runners up in two tourism awards, the museum was looking for a new home. After inspecting many sites it was decided to accept the offer of Farmer Parrs Animal World.
The Parr family has been farming for generations. Family roots can be traced back to Inskip and Hornby; with James Parr (senior) and Margaret Parr moving to Fleetwood, to farm Fleetwood Farm in 1951. They initially found the change from rural to urban to be a challenging one.
The picture on the left is of Farmer James Parr (senior), when he was here farming over 50 years ago.
The Parr family have seen lots of change over the years. Changes in industry, employment, housing and schooling. With many of Fleetwood’s houses and schools being built on land they used to farm. The timeline and photographs below show some of the important events the Parrs experienced, and why they decided to diversify and open a petting farm.
Farmer Parrs Animal World farm park was started by the whole family: James Parr (senior), Margaret Parr, James Parr, George Parr and Deborah Parr. The children’s farm park has been open for 20 years now and has grown year on year. It started off as just a small open farm offering a great value North West day out. Then the Fylde Coast Country / Rural Life Farm Museum arrived, followed by The Pottery Studio and also the Barbara Jackson Dance & Theatre School.
The image on the right is the original press release, written by Margaret Parr in her own hand writing for the planned launch for Farmer Parrs Animal World.
The farm originally opened as a rare breed farm, aimed at providing ‘delight and pleasure to all age groups.’ The farm opened with twenty different breeds of sheep, eleven breeds of cattle, horses, ponies, donkeys and goats; along with a variety of birds and unusual creatures like llamas, rhea, emu and wild boar.
Some of the animals have changed over the years, but our mission to provide ‘delight and pleasure to all age groups’ has remained the same.
The timeline below shows some of the interesting events that have influenced the Parr family, their business decisions, the emergence of Farmer Parrs and the history of the local area.
Parr family move to Fleetwood Farm; initially farming pigs, poultry and dairy cattle.
A bad year for the Parr family farming in Fleetwood. 1954 saw a serious hay fire and a flood as sea defences failed.
Parr family move farms; switching from Fleetwood Farm to Wyrefield Farm
Parr family asked to turn ‘ash land’ by Fleetwood Power Station into productive farm land.
Fleetwood farm, its buildings and adjoining fields taken for building Rossall Estate.
Land taken for new transport link to Fleetwood: Amounderness Way. Wyrefield Farm was split into two; resulting in insufficient land to support all the cattle in one unit. The Parr family started to milk two units of cattle.
Amounderness Way opens.
James and George Parr develop a retail and wholesale dairy business. Using all the milk produced by the herd and using milk bought from other farms to be processed into a wide range of dairy products that get sold across the Fylde.
United Utilities compulsory purchase nearly all farm land at the old power plant.
With a reduction in available land, no prospect of growth and the increased cost of milking two units, Parr had to consider diversification.
Farmer Parrs Animal World opens as a ‘Rare Breed Farm’.
The Fylde Preservation Society relocates museum to Farmer Parrs Animal World
Autism Initiative opened a Pottery studio for their students at Farmer Parrs Animal World.
Barbara Jackson’s Dance School relocates to Farmer Parrs Animal World