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The former Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank in Bacup, which ‘played’ the old library in Rocksham on 1 April 2022
The former Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank in Bacup, which ‘played’ the old library in Rocksham on 1 April 2022

A wheelie good decision! New grant awarded to create the UK’s first Wheelie Bin Museum

1 April 2022

The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) is delighted to announce a new grant to the Rocksham Historic Trust (RHT) to transform a vacant former library into the UK’s first wheelie bin museum.

Built in 1901, the former Rocksham Library is a prominent building on the town’s high street and also housed the town’s first museum in a room on the ground floor. Vacant since 2001, the building has fallen into disrepair – now with the help of RHT, this landmark will soon be returned to its former glory as the National Wheelie Bin Museum.

RHT Chair of Trustees, Frank Barking, has been a lifelong resident of Rocksham and watched the decline of the former library for more than two decades. He described the inspiration behind the museum:

“One day I was walking my dog past the old library, there were bins out front – Tuesday is Bin Day in Rocksham – and I got thinking. You know, the wheelie bin is one of most important things that make our society work, but nobody appreciates them! That’s when I got the idea to create the UK’s National Wheelie Bin Museum.”

Specific plans for the building include a display of wheelie bins from public figures and local heroes alike, such as Robert Davies, who worked at the library for 45 years. While Sir Elton John has already stepped forwards with plans to donate his jewel-encrusted wheelie bin for the people of Rocksham to marvel at, it is hoped that stars like Ed Sheeran and several members of the Loose Women panel will be next on the list. Other famous faces whose wheelie bins will be exhibited here include Holly Willoughby, Ant and Dec, and the Duchess of Kent.

Rocksham Historic Trust’s main aim is to promote the forgotten history of this household necessity, which has been an iconic figure in British culture since its creation in 1968, but Frank assures us the true history of this icon dates back even further. “Not many people know that William Gladstone was an early adopter of what we’d now call a wheelie bin, and Sir Francis Drake is rumored to have given one as a gift to Queen Elizabeth I,” says Frank.

The AHF grant will fund a series of repairs to this beloved local building, helping the project to get underway, and bringing the people of Rocksham closer to their goal of restoring this grand building into a one-of-a-kind visitor attraction to foster tourism in the area and celebrate the uniqueness of this town.


This story was posted on 1st April to celebrate April Fool’s Day! Some of you may recognize the beautiful former Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank in Bacup, which is being conserved and revitalized by Valley Heritage, one of our Heritage Development Trusts – thank you to Valley Heritage for being in on the joke! But while we regret to inform you that there are, in fact, no current plans to create a Wheelie Bin Museum, the AHF is always interested in hearing innovative ideas for the reuse of historic buildings across the UK. So, if you have an idea, even one that involves the history of wheelie bins, get in touch with us!

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