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Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire
SAVE OUR MUSEUMS!
Five Lancashire Museums to Close-
and Six More are Likely to Follow
At the end of November 2015 Lancashire County Council voted to close five Lancashire Museums. They have been told that they will close on 31st March 2016. They are: Museum of Lancashire (in Preston), Queen Street Mill in Burnley, Helmshore Mills Textile Museum, Judges’ Lodgings in Lancaster and Fleetwood Museum.
The public were given no prior warning that this was to happen - within a week of the closures being announced, the County Council had voted that this would indeed happen. The news gets worse though. They have also voted to remove funding from six more museums. These are: Lancaster Castle, Lancaster City Museum, Lancaster Cottage Museum, Lancaster Maritime Museum and Clitheroe Castle Museum. They have been given a stay of execution for about 18 months, but they have been told they must generate all their own money to stay open. It is unlikely that they will be able to do this.
Readers of this website know that there is an enormous wealth of heritage in museums. There are not only irreplaceable artifacts, but also fantastic educational displays and a wealth of knowledge imparted by the museum staff. Take the Museum of Lancashire for instance - it has an immersive recreation of World War 1 trenches and the World War 2 home front. Fascinating displays show how the local factories and munitions plants did their part in supplying the frontline for the wars, and how they protected their own buildings through the use of camouflage paint. But this is just a small part of what the building holds - for example, it has the recently discovered nationally important Silverdale Viking Hoard. This was carefully restored by experts based at the museum and the MoL was supposed to be its permanent home.
From Lancashire County Council’s own website comes this statement: “The Museum of Lancashire has been awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2015 for consistently great reviews from TripAdvisor travellers”.
If you value our history, archaeology and heritage please consider doing just one of the actions listed below to help save our museums:
1) You can email the Leader of Lancashire County Council, Jennifer Mein; her email address is on her webpage and can be seen by clicking here. http://council.lancashire.gov.uk/mgUserInfo.aspx?UID=120
2) You can sign an online petition. There are currently two petitions to save three of the museums- a joint one for Helmshore and Queen Street, and another one for the Judges’ Lodgings. The link to these, and any more petitions that get started can be found on our sister site www.LancashirePast.com by clicking here http://lancashirepast.com/2015/11/26/five-lancashire-museums-to-close/
Or go directly here to one of these links to sign a petition:
3) You could write to your MP. Every MP has their email on their website, so just type their name into a search engine and you will easily find it on their website contact page. This is particularly important if you live in Lancashire, as MPs listen carefully to their constituents and take note of the numbers that contact them on particular issues.
4) You could write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. He is responsible for allocating money to the County Councils, who then decide where to spend it. Lancashire says it only has enough for essential services. As a country, Britain is the fifth richest nation in the world. George Osborne talks of a Northern Powerhouse, of devolving power to the regions and a high speed rail link. This would all require major investment in our region but at the same time our eleven County Council Museums face closure.
It would only take a few minutes to do just one of these four things. If the museums close, it is very unlikely they will reopen in the future. We can’t afford to lose our heritage - let our representatives hear your voice, let them know how much you value our history and the education of future generations.
Above: The excellent Museum of Lancashire - it is a great museum which will soon close.
Above: Inside the Helmshore Textile Museum - where you can still see working looms.
Save our museums update - APRIL 2016
Lancashire Museums have a short stay of execution Posted on April 18, 2016by Lancashirepast.com
The five Lancashire Museums that faced closure at the end of March, have a stay of execution until the end of September. Lancashire County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for Environment, Planning and Cultural Services says that there are active discussions on going with interested groups looking to take over the museums. The county council is also giving this extra time so that more parties who may want to run the museums can come forward.
The plight of the museums has had some coverage in the national press.
There have been three separate articles in The Guardian - see here: 1 http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2016/apr/05/museum-closures-post-industrial-lancashire-economy
The Independent also published an article about the fate of northern museums, see here. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/north-of-england-northern-powerhouse-george-osborne-cultural-wasteland-museums-are-hit-by-austerity-a6926321.html
In the meantime, if you have not done so already, please consider signing the petitions. The links to the petitions can be found towards the bottom of our Lancashirepast.com webpage which covered the announcement of the initial closures- click here https://lancashirepast.com/2015/11/26/five-lancashire-museums-to-close/
Please also consider visiting these wonderful museums. Their opening times can be found by following this link here http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/museums.aspx
If we go to the museums, sign the visitors book, spend some money there, this will surely help them in their talks with outside organizations that are interested in taking them over and keeping them open.
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