If you go down to Portland Basin today

Arts & Education
IF you go down to Portland Basin soon, you’ll be in for a big surprise. The Ashton museum has been taken over by teddy bears - big and small, old and new – and each one has a special story to tell.


Ted has just turned 60, having been purchased from Mr Lowry’s on Wharf Street, Dukinfield. Biggles was bought for his owner when he gained his pilot’s licence at the age of 70. The most daredevil of all the bears, Teddy, recently did his first parachute jump.
The bears have been loaned to the museum by people across Tameside.
As well as starring in the exhibition, some of the bears enjoyed a picnic at Stamford Park. Their adventures were captured by photographer Alison Hempstock and can be seen on display at the museum.
To celebrate the exhibition, internationally renowned knitting and crochet designer Emma Varnam has designed Portland Bear. Emma, who has written several crochet books and writes a popular blog on the subject, explained: “Portland Bear is inspired by my favourite museum, situated by the picturesque Ashton Canal.
“Portland likes nothing more than spending his days on his pretty canal boat. He loves watching all the wildlife that lives on the waterway, but his favourite thing to do is to welcome the children who visit his museum.
“A day filled with laughter, fun and learning something new is a great day for this little bear.”
The pattern to make your own knitted or crocheted Portland Bear is on sale in the museum shop.
There are lots of hands-on things for children too, including a teddy trail, teddy bears’ picnic and books to read. Bring your own bear along to join in the fun.
The exhibition opens on Saturday, July 15, and runs until next spring. Portland Basin Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm.