The Rum Story explores Whitehaven’s connections to the wine and sugar trade in the 18th century. Housed in the original 1785 warehouses and offices of the Jefferson family, visitors can get investigate the authentic depiction of 18th century Whitehaven. You will the Jefferson family business through Spain, Portugal and Antigua.

Perfect for people of all ages, The Rum Story invites you to explore preserved and recreated buildings used by the Jefferson family to understand their history in the rum trade. Meanwhile, they display a thought provoking exhibit on the history of slavery and the sugar trade. Furthermore, The Rum Story has worked closely with local people and Anti Racist Cumbria to ensure the story they tell is sensitive to the realties of enslaved peoples lives.  After that they can take you deep into the Antiguan forest and see sights that would have been unheard of to 17th century English colonisers. Get deep into the excitement of it and flee from pirates as you follow the tale through to the height of prohibition and the jazz age!

Things to do:

  • Investigate Henry Jefferson’s office that has remained nearly unchanged for 200 years.
  • Explore the long history of the rum trade and the trauma of enslaved peoples through this informative exhibit and slave ship diorama.
  • Learn about the most famous swashbuckling pirates! Challenge your romantic image and explore their connections to the crown and the dangers they saw.
  • See the inner workings of prohibition and decide for yourself whether it was a good thing for the United States.
  • The Courtyard Café and gift shop.

For more information on opening times, see here.


The site is wheelchair accessible. There is lift access to all parts of the building, although there are a small number of steps after the lift towards the education or board room due to the historic nature of the building.

Accessible toilets can be found on the ground floor and in The Vault.

Disabled parking is directly outside the building.

Assistance dogs are welcome.

For more information, click here.

Further explore the history of the north west at Tullie Museum and Art Gallery.

Q Is it dog friendly?

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  • Monday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Tuesday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Wednesday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Thursday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Friday09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
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