What’s On

Keeping Up AppearancesSaturday 30th March to Sunday 15th September 2024, open weekends 1pm-4pm. Admission is FREE!

A stunning new exhibition of clothing and accesories from World War II, kindly on loan from Angela Brown of Pegasus WW2 Displays. We think you’ll be surprised by how colourful some of the garments are!

Poster image for "Keeping Up Appearances", World War Two costume exhibition - image shows surprisingly glamorous green 1940s high heeled peeptoe shoes

International Blacksmiths DaySaturday 18th May 2024. Traditional craft demonstrations 12noon-5pm, Real Ales and Ciders served 12noon-6pm. Admission is FREE!


Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th September 2023, 12noon-5pm

Join us for a weekend of local history for all the family, inspired by our exhibition about Stefan Skura, a Polish blacksmith who made a new life for himself in St Helens after World War II. Celebrate the valuable contribution Polish soldiers made to the war effort and the years that followed as they resettled in Britain and the Polish communities that continue to enrich local life. Learn more about Polish culture – taste Polish treats, and try free traditional crafts too!

Saturday 16th September: find out what life was like for allied soldiers in World War II with our field kitchen living history display. Make Polish floral wreaths and pisanki eggs.

Sobota 16 września: dowiedz się, jak wyglądało życie żołnierzy alianckich podczas II wojny światowej, oglądając naszą wystawę. Zrób Upleciemy polskie wianuszki z kwiatów i zrobimy pisanki.

Sunday 17th September: Merseyside Polonia and John Paul II Polish Saturday School in Liverpool will hold special storytelling sessions about Wojtek the Bear with themed crafts. Bring along your own favourite toy and join in with our Teddy Bears Picnic!

Niedziela 17 września: Merseyside Polonia i Polska Szkoła Sobotnia im. Jana Pawła II w Liverpoolu opowiedzą o historii Niedźwiadka Wojtka (przy użyciu ręcznych rękodzieł.) Zabierz ze sobą swoją ulubioną zabawkę i dołącz do naszego Pikniku Pluszowych Misiów!

Enjoy delicious refreshments in our tearoom on both Saturday and Sunday. Please note it is cash only. Smithy Heritage Centre is step-free throughout with accessible toilets and baby change facilities. Everyone is welcome!

On Sunday 17th September 2023, The Great Eccleston Bake-off is back for the 8th time!

Amateur bakers of all ages can enter, with prizes and trophies to be won! The cakes are blind-tasted by a panel of judges from St Helens WI to ensure fairness, then a Winner and Runner Up are selected. There is also an award for Best Decorated Cake, to be voted for by visitors. Download an entry form and rules from or pick one up from the Smithy during opening hours (weekends, 1-4pm).

Entries must be brought to Eccleston Village Hall (attached to Smithy Heritage Centre) between 12noon and 3pm on Sunday 17th along with a completed form and label. Judging will start at 3.15pm and winners will be announced at 4pm.

W niedzielę 17 września odbędzie się po raz ósmy The Great Eccleston Bake-off! Zgłaszać się mogą amatorzy i pasjonaci pieczenia w każdym wieku, a na zwycięzców czekają nagrody! Aby zapewnić uczciwość, ciasta zostaną ocenione przez panel sędziów z St Helens WI, którzy wyłonią laureata pierwszego i drugiego miejsca. Zostanie również przyznana nagroda za najlepiej udekorowane ciasto, na które zagłosują odwiedzający / przybyli goście. Pobierz formularze zgłoszeniowe i zasady ze strony smithyheritagecentre.org.uk lub odbierz go z Smithy Heritage Centre.

Zgłoszenia należy dostarczyć do Eccleston Village Hall (połączony z Smithy Heritage Centre) między 12:00 a 15:00 w niedzielę 17-go września wraz z wypełnionym formularzem i naklejką. Jury rozpocznie obrady o 15:15, a ogłoszenie zwycięzców nastąpi o godzinie 16:00. 

Forging a New Life is a fascinating exhibition remembering Stefan Skura, a blacksmith who, during the Second World War, was a soldier in Polish II Corps, fighting alongside Allied forces in Africa and Italy. Once the war had ended, Stefan chose to settle in the UK and start a new life rather than returning to the then Soviet-controlled Poland. It was not an easy option for a ‘foreigner’ looking for work as jobs were scarce, and the invaluable contribution made by the Polish forces to keep Britain free during the war had been quickly forgotten.

Through photographs, papers and documentation on loan from Archive Resource for Knowsley, the story of one man echoes the experiences shared by so many other Polish men and women after the end of WWII. It is with thanks to Merseyside Polonia for translating all of Stefan’s documents that we are able to shine a light on him and so many others.

Forging a New Life will be on display at the Smithy Heritage Centre from Saturday 8th April to Sunday 17th September 2023, open at weekends from 1pm to 4pm. Admission is free!



INTERNATIONAL BLACKSMITHS DAY AT THE SMITHY – Saturday 20th May 2023, 12noon-5pm

Come and join us on Saturday 20th May 2023 for an amazing day at the Smithy – see terrifically talented craftspeople sharing their skills, and enjoy a refreshing pint or two of Real Ale or cider! Craft demonstrations will take place 12noon-5pm, drinks served 12noon-6pm. Admission is FREE!

Blacksmithing, wheelwrighting, green wood turning, weaving and crocheting are some of the traditional crafts you’ll get to see in action, and get a feel for how the Smithy would have been when it was still a working forge. You can meet beekeepers and see inside a real hive.

We’ll be serving Real Ale from Tatton Brewery and ciders from Red Bank Cider. We’ll also have soft drinks, tea, coffee, delicious cakes and Burchall’s pies available too! All proceeds go towards looking after the Smithy, so you can treat yourself and help a good cause at the same time! 😋 Please note, our Tearoom and Bar are cash only.

You can even sit and play vintage games while you enjoy your refreshments for an added bit of old-fashioned fun.

The Smithy building is all on one level with accessible toilet and baby change facilities. We’re dog friendly too, so the whole family is welcome!

*** CANCELLED *** Heritage Open Weekend: Celebrating Industry – Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th September 2022, 12noon-5pm

Local history for all the family – find out how your ancestors are part of The Making of St Helens in our exhibition; see fabulous replica banners like those carried by local colliery workers and make your own, buy something made in St Helens and enjoy a yummy cake in our pop-up tearoom!

*** CANCELLED *** The 8th Great Eccleston Bake-off – Sunday 18th September 2022

Our fun annual event is now back in its 8th year – bakers of all ages are welcome to enter. Win prizes and unique trophies! 

The Making of St Helens – Saturday 16th April – Sunday 18th September 2022

This year, we’re focusing on local history, and how people worked in the area, from centuries ago to the recent past. We’d love to hear your stories when you visit!

International Blacksmiths Day – Saturday 21st May 2022 (craft demonstrations 12noon-5pm, refreshments served 12noon-6pm)

Our favourite annual event is back after a hiatus! See fabulous live craft demonstrations of Blacksmithing, Wheelwrighting, Green Woodworking, Wood Carving & Sculpture, Yarn Spinning and Beekeeping. We’ll be open later, serving Real Ales, ciders, tea, coffee, soft drinks, cakes and snacks. You can even sit and play vintage games while you enjoy your refreshments!

It’s free to visit, with lots to see and do for all the family.

The Smithy’s special exhibition for 2021, Objects of Desire, is a wonderful mix of collections from individuals reflecting their personal passions. The Smithy was closed in 2020 so the exhibition began online, but now you can visit and enjoy the objects in real life – from Ancient Egyptian pottery to paperweights, cigarette cards, fans, dolls, elephants and everything in between, there is so much to see!

Objects of Desire - What do you collect? Be part of our online exhibition!

Heritage Open Weekend, Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th September 2019, 11am-5pm 
To complement our brilliant Vikings! exhibition, we’ll have tons of stalls selling amazing stuff in our Viking Market. You can even meet some Vikings who will show you how they lived and fought, and even how to play some of their favourite games.

There’ll be drop-in 50p craft activities, dressing up stuff and handling objects, and you can have a nice sit down in our Tea Room for some refreshments – tea, coffee, soft drinks, cider, cakes and snacks – lots of tasty treats to choose from!

There’ll be loads to see and do for all the family, and as ever, admission is free!

7th Great Eccleston Bake-off, Sunday 15th September 2019

Entries to be submitted 12noon-3pm, judging takes place 3.15-3.45pm, prizegiving is at 4pm


International Blacksmiths Day Saturday 18th May 2018. Live craft demonstrations 12noon-5pm, open later serving Real Ales and cider 12noon-6pm
See live demonstrations from amazing craftspeople using the technologies available to the Vikings, and get an extra insight into the Vikings! exhibition. As well as Mark the Blacksmith, Paula the Pole Lathe turner, Rose the Spinner and Weaver, Phill the Wheelwright will be bringing along Arnie the horse.

Apple Day Saturday 22 September 2018, 12noon-5pm
An autumn day of apple-themed family fun with games and craft activities, apple juice and cider for the grown ups. Do you have an apple tree? Bring along your surplus apples and windfalls to be turned into apple juice to make sure they don’t go to waste! Alan from Dunham Massey Apple Juice will be bringing his traditional cider press, so you can press your own fresh apple juice on the day and drink it there and then! He will then take any surplus apples with him to be turned into juice, so none will be wasted. Find out more at www.dunhammasseyapplejuice.com

Smithy-Con Science Fiction Fair Heritage Open Weekend, Saturday 8 & Sunday 9 September 2018, 10am-5pm
To tie in with our science fiction-themed exhibition, the Smithy will be hosting a mini Comic-Con-type event, with stalls of memorabilia, costumes, toys and games – feel free to come dressed up as your favourite character and join in with the fun!

Great Eccleston Bake-off Sunday 9 September 2018, 10am-5pm
Now in its 6th year, the Great Eccleston Bake-off is open to anyone to enter a cake of any type. Cakes are blind-tasted and judged by the wonderful women of St Helens WI to ensure fairness, and a winner and runner-up receive trophies and prizes. A new category is being introduced this year, to be judged by the public – Best Decorated Cake – so another trophy and prize will be up for grabs!

A History of Science Fiction – Talk from Mark Olly with Wine & Nibbles Tuesday 26 June 2018, 7pm-10pm
Mark Olly, writer, historian, presenter and owner of many of the Visions of Another World artefacts will be giving a talk on the history of science fiction, covering some 30 books, films, and productions. Tickets are £5, and can be bought in advance from the Smithy during opening hours, or you can pay on the door. First glass of wine included.

International Blacksmiths Day Real Ale & Hog Roast Event Saturday 19 May 2018, live demonstrations 12noon-5pm, real ales served 11am-10pm
Come and see fascinating blacksmithing and wheelwrighting demonstrations until 5pm alongside other craftspeople showcasing their skills, with handmade unique items available to buy. As well as blacksmith Paul and wheelwright Phill, Paula the green wood turner will be using her pole lathe, Barry the weaver will be crafting bee skeps, and Rosemary will be spinning yarn. Hog roast will be available from 12noon onwards – come early to avoid missing out! Feeling thirsty? We’ll be serving local Real Ales and ciders from 12noon to 10pm, as well as soft drinks, cakes, snacks and there are traditional pub games to keep you occupied.

Apple Day Saturday 28th October 2017, 12noon – 5pm
An autumn day of apple-themed family fun with games and craft activities, with cider for the grown ups and a hog roast. Do you have an apple tree? Bring along your surplus apples and windfalls to be turned into cider to make sure they don’t go to waste!

Members of Ormskirk & Croston Beekeeping Association will be at the Apple Day showing us why bees are so important and what we can do to help them. http://www.ormskirkbeekeepers.org.uk/

The surplus apples and windfalls collected on Apple Day will be taken to Dunham Massey Apple Juice so they won’t go to waste. http://www.dunhammasseyapplejuice.com/

Murder Mystery Evening at the Smithy Saturday 21st October 2017, 7-10pm
Back by popular demand, the Smithy will be hosting another evening of intrigue, mystery and murder! Meet a cast of colourful characters from Murder Mystery Productions – interview the suspects and solve the crime of “The Wilcox Curse”.

1920’s spiritualist Dr Robert Black is trying to help Lady Evelyn Wilcox cure a family curse with various techniques. He should have known better than to mess with the ” Dark Arts”….

Tickets are £15, with buffet supper and first drink included.

Explore the Past at the Smithy! – Heritage Open Weekend Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th September 2017, 12noon – 5pm
We’ve got brilliant displays of weird and wonderful things from all over the world, some thousands, even millions of years old, and lots of ancient artefacts that you can touch! We’ll also be looking at objects that have been excavated, including our wonderful rocking horse toy that has been chosen to help tell “A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects”. Younger visitors can make their own replica to play with at our drop-in craft session, just 50p per child.

Inspired by P.T. Barnum’s sideshows, on Saturday 9th we’ll be having some old-fashioned fun with outdoor fair games! Get your oven gloves on and join in with the 5th Annual Great Eccleston Bake-off on Sunday 10th!

Festival of British Archaeology at the Smithy 15th & 16th, 22nd & 23rd, 29th & 30th July 2017, 1 – 4pm
We’ve got tons of weird, wonderful and interesting items that people have collected that will make you say “What on earth is that?” Come along during the Festival of Archaeology to test your identification skills on a collection of incredible objects that will certainly keep you guessing!

International Blacksmiths Day, Real Ale & Hog Roast event Saturday 20th May 2017 Demonstrations 12 – 5pm, Open late serving Ales 12 – 10pm
Each year this exciting international event gets bigger and better – demonstrations of craftspeople showcasing their skills from 12 to 5pm, with handmade unique items available to buy. There will be demonstrations of blacksmithing, wheelwrighting, green woodworking, and new for this year – clog making!
As ever, there will be a hog roast (come early to avoid missing out!), snacks, cakes, tea, coffee and soft drinks. Feeling thirsty? We’ll be open late serving local Real Ales and ciders from 12 to 10pm, with traditional pub games to keep you occupied.

Windfall Apple Collection Day Friday 30th September 2016, 10 – 2pm

Thank you for supporting our Windfall Apple Collection Day! Dove Syke Cider are now making the cider for this year’s International Blacksmiths Day from the hundreds of local windfalls kindly supplied by our wonderful visitors in September 2016. After the successful response, it is now to be an annual event with apple and cider-themed activities!

MacMillan Coffee Morning Friday 30th September 2016, 10 – 1pm

Join us for a cuppa and tons of cake to support this important cause.

Eat, drink and be merry! – Heritage Open Weekend Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th September 2016, 12 – 5pm

We’ll be having a weekend of Tudor-style fun for all the family, with outdoor games, costumes, music, and a special trail around our secret garden. On Saturday 10th will be a feast fit for a King, with dishes made from original recipes – come and have a real taste of the past! Get your oven gloves on and join in with the 4th Annual Great Eccleston Bake-off on Sunday 11th!

Music & Magic of Shakespeare’s World Saturday 27th August 2016, 1 – 4pm

Step back in time and hear Tom Hughes play music from Shakespeare’s day on his incredible range of historical instruments – there are songs from the street, country dance tunes and music from the court, with references to many of his plays. Younger visitors can explore the magical world of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with fairy-themed family activities around the grounds and crafts, only 50p per child.

Have a beautiful portrait of your child taken by photographer Jo Rutherford for only £5 – check out her stunning work on her website www.jorutherfordphotography.co.uk

Midsummer Murder at the Smithy Saturday 2nd July 2016, 7 – 10pm

The Smithy will be hosting an evening of intrigue, mystery and murder! Be transported back in time and meet a cast of colourful characters from Murder Mystery Productions – interview the suspects and solve the crime! Tickets are £15, with buffet supper and first drink included.

International Blacksmiths Day & Real Ale event Saturday 21st May 2016, 12 – 5pm

The Curators and Eccleston Parish Council wish to thank Rainhill Rotary Club for supporting International Blacksmiths Day 2016. The event on 21st May was bigger and better than ever after receiving a £500 donation towards costs. Click here to see photos of the event…

Shakespeare at the Smithy Thursday 17th March 2016, 7.00 – 9.00pm

Join us for a special evening celebration of Shakespeare, with refreshments and a fascinating talk from Rosemary Tyler: find out more about the man behind the myth and his possible links to the local area. Rosemary will also explore the local area’s other important contributions to Elizabethan drama. Admission is £5, just pay on the door, no need to book.

Man’s Best Friend – Saturday 4th April to Saturday 13th September 2015, open weekends 1 – 4pm

The Smithy is officially a Dog Friendly Venue, so this year our exhibition will focus on our four-legged friends! Over the centuries, dogs have played an important part in culture and society on many levels. Dogs feature in mythology and religion, and have developed from wolves into domesticated animals that serve many purposes such as working dogs, guide dogs, assistance dogs, even joining the Army and Police. Bring a photo of your dog to add to our gallery – or bring your dog to see the exhibition!

We are also collecting food for the Dogs Trust throughout the duration of the exhibition. If you would like to help, or know more about the organisation locally, go to https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/our-centres/merseyside/

Festival of British Archaeology at the Smithy – 11th, 12th, 18th, 19th, 25th & 26th July 2015, 1 – 4pm

Since 2012, archaeological excavations have taken place in Rainford, at the library and even in people’s gardens, as part of the Heritage Lottery-funded Rainford’s Roots Project. The Smithy is proud to present a selection of the fascinating finds in association with National Museums Liverpool.

International Blacksmiths Day & Real Ale event – Saturday 23rd May 2015, 12-5pm, (Real Ales served 12 – 11pm)

This year, as well as blacksmithing and wheelwrighting demonstrations from 12 to 5pm, we’ll be having a visit from Puzzle the horse who will be being shod, just like the very first event held at the Smithy when it opened in 1995. The whole day will be a huge celebration, and we’ll be serving local Real Ales and ciders from 12 to 11pm, as well as snacks and traditional games, so come and join the party!

Vintage Valentine’s at the Smithy – Saturday 7th, Sunday 8th, Saturday 14th, Sunday 15th February 2015, 1 – 4pm The Smithy will be hosting a special exhibition of antique Valentine’s cards on loan from The Atkinson, Southport. Be inspired and make your own to take home. Admission is FREE!  

VALENTINE’S MURDER MYSTERY NIGHT 2015: Immaculate Deception at the Smithy – Saturday 14th February 2015, 7 – 10pm Not in the mood for romance and candles?  Come to the Smithy for an alternative Valentine’s evening out!  Meet the cast of colourful characters from Murder Mystery Productions – interview the suspects and solve the crime! Tickets cost £15 per person, with buffet supper and first drink included.  .

Extra! Extra! – Heritage Open Weekend at the Smithy – Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th September 2014, 12 – 5pm Daily newspapers and “penny dreadfuls” played a huge part in recording details of crimes in the Victorian era, as well as providing entertainment for the masses. We’ll also be having a bit of 19th century-style fun with good old-fashioned games and stalls at the Smithy – try your hand at traditional games including skittles, shove ha’penny, ring toss, and even Aunt Sally – there’s lots of fun to be had for all the family! Also, as part of the weekend’s festivities, we will be holding the second Great Eccleston Bake-off in Eccleston Village Hall on Saturday 13th September.

Murder Most Foul – 19th April to 14th September 2014, open weekends 1 – 4pm Although Eccleston is a peaceful place, over the centuries, crimes have been committed in the local area, and some have even made the international press – we’ve had not one, but two major suspects in the infamous Jack the Ripper case! This fascinating exhibition tells some of these historic stories, looking at how crime detection, policing and punishment changed over the years, and how the newspapers reported them. Local historian Ted Forsyth has been giving monthly talks on local crimes, criminals and hangmen. The talks are free, and are repeated throughout the day. There is no need to book, just drop-in and take a seat!

Festival of British Archaeology at the Smithy – 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th, 26th & 27th July 2014, 1 – 4pm Get involved with the Council for British Archaeology’s national event – this year, we’ll be looking at forensic archaeology. Find out about bog bodies and bones! There will also be themed craft activities over the three weekends, just 50p per child.

Murder at the Smithy – Saturday 28th June 2014, 6 – 9pm To tie in with our Murder Most Foul exhibition, the Smithy will be hosting an evening of intrigue, mystery and murder! Be transported back to the 1920s, and meet a cast of colourful characters from Murder Mystery Productions – interview the suspects and solve the crime! Tickets are £15, with buffet supper and first drink included.

International Blacksmiths Day & Real Ale event – Saturday 24th May 2014, 12 – 5pm Each year this exciting international event gets bigger and better – from 12 -5pm there will be blacksmithing and wheelwrighting demonstrations alongside other craftspeople showcasing their skills, with handmade unique items available to buy. Feeling thirsty? We’ll be serving local Real Ales and ciders from 12 to 11pm, as well as snacks and traditional pub games to keep you occupied.

Memories of Eccleston Book Launch – Thursday 20th March 2014, 6.30 – 8.30pm Throughout 2013, the Curators gathered memories of Eccleston from local people, as part of a Heritage Lottery funded “All Our Stories” project to create a website, touring exhibition and book that tells the story of the area. The newly-published Memories of Eccleston book will be launched along with a preview of the touring exhibition. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.

Images of War – Saturday 30th March to Sunday 15th September 2013 Get an incredible insight into World War Two through a stunning collection of Ministry of Defence photographs kindly on loan from Sefton Council, showing the many different roles the Armed Forces played across the globe, including Naval blacksmiths.  The images are accompanied by artefacts and personal stories of those who experienced life on the front line.

KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON AT THE SMITHY, Heritage Open Weekend 2013 –  Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th September, 12 noon – 5pm Step back in time to experience wartime in Eccleston – we’re battening down the hatches, with tape on the windows and sandbags at the ready! Our incredible “Images of War” exhibition will be specially extended for the event throughout the whole Smithy complex and the surrounding area will be completely transformed. Handling objects, activities, costumes, food and drink bring the era to life. Monitor enemy troops and guide our armed forces in the Smithy’s War Room Operations Centre with our map table and models. Want to be a soldier? Test your fitness on the assault course. Interested in fashion and music? Try out some wartime looks and do the jitterbug. Make your own wartime toys in our drop-in craft activity sessions throughout the day, only 50p per child.

Also, as part of the weekend’s festivities, we will be holding The Great Eccleston Bake-off in Eccleston Village Hall on Saturday 14th September! We thought it would be nice to bring back some good-old fashioned community events back, and as our regular visitors will know, we love a bit of cake!

Festival of British Archaeology – 13th, 14th, 20th, 21st, 27th & 28th July 2013, 1pm – 4pm To tie into our “Images of War” exhibition, this year we will have a special display of battlefield archaeology through the ages from across the globe. As ever, there are lots of themed activities for everyone to try, including handling objects and crafts. You can even try your hand at negotiating your way around our mini-battlefield obstacle course with a remote control tank! Did you go hunting for shrapnel during the war? Did you find any round here? Let us know!

International Blacksmiths Day & Real Ale Event – Saturday 25th May 2013, 12 noon – 11pm. This year we have united two of our most popular events in one – International Blacksmiths Day and our Real Ale festival – the perfect combination! For one day only, see live demonstrations of blacksmithing, wheelwrighting, and other historic crafts from 12noon-5pm. There will be a hog roast to accompany the fine selection of real ales and local cider on sale until 11pm for those who fancy a tasty traditional treat. There’ll be lots to see and do, so join us for this unique event!


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