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Archiver > ESSEX-UK > 2007-04 > 1177029492

From: "michael Daniels" <>
Subject: Re: [Ess] Museum in crisis
Date: Fri, 20 Apr 2007 01:38:12 +0100
References: <007101c78194$1cd236b0$033ca8c0@dell><BAY115-DAV18CFE332F7A8B002F0B6CDDF500@phx.gbl>

Hello troubled folk especially those 'concerned' re Walthamstow.

All I have to say about the situation, and here using an extract from
Michael Gilbey's message to make the point, quote: 'Denying both residents
and tourists access to their own heritage'. Just look around this 2007
of ours; in cities like London, Manchester, Glasgow, are the people you see
likely to be that interested in heritage, er British heritage? If you think
they are,
you must be seeing things from some parallel universe, detached from this
of ours.

Don't forget, this Britain, like in the times of our medieval monarchs,
is once
more 'crusading' afar and the cost is 'humungous' to use a new apparently
superlative that has now come into our language. Thus economies at home have
to be made and one of the first casualties are museums and galleries. True
undeniable, for most of our present day 'citizenry', they could not care
less if
there was no place for historical artefacts, old books and pictures linked
to a
way of life far removed from their own 'heritage'.

Even, say twenty years ago when we moved to this region and toured
Colchester's five, it might be six, museums, it was sad to see how poorly
were being patronised. The Tymperley's Clock Museum, the one staff in
atten- dance, seemed literally delighted when we actually wished to talk
about the
exhibits in his charge, for seemingly very few others appeared to be beating
path to his door! Admittedly, this museum is a bit tucked away just off a
main thoroughfare, but others occupy sites in the much frequented shopping
in the town, and they too were virtually devoidof visitors when we visited.

Sorry, but this appears to be much the case nationally. When we stayed
in Scotland, in Edinburgh, the Royal Museum, and its attached Museum of
Scotland, (dreadful 'carbuncle' addition) we found these institutions,
to that country's heritage, well under used. Indeed I had some of the splend
id galleries in the Royal virtually to myself apart from, occasionally, the
of a rather bored looking security man.

With such poor attendances, museums, galleries, libraries are going to
become ever more vulnerable to economic cuts and rationalisation. There is
no real answer to the situation. These institutions owed their foundation
to a
period when there was a clear demand for culture and many came into being
when Britain was both wealthy and 'Great'. Now in this 21st century it's
all irrevocably changed and most unfortunately, we have no choice but to
edly accept the inevitable.

Michael in Clacton where the authorities have recently 'vandalised'
our central library!

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mick Gilbey" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, April 18, 2007 2:26 PM
Subject: Re: [Ess] Museum in crisis

> As a former Waltham Forest councillor I was amazed to hear of the proposal
> to close the William Morris Gallery. The gallery coupled with the Vestry
> House Museum in Walthamstow Village always were and still are, "The jewels
> in the crown" of the borough. I know from past experience there are times
> when money can get tight and difficult decisions have to be made. However,
> even during those times, there was never any dissension between any of the
> political parties on the paramount need to maintain and keep open these
> vital links to the boroughs heritage.
> William Morris was one of Britain's greatest social reformers and his
> connection with the borough was something that Waltham Forest was always
> proud of. The local Labour Party used to own a property in nearby Somers
> Road where they used to conduct their business. This they named "The
> Morris Hall" in honour of the great man.
> It's ironic that this news has broken on the same day that a national poll
> found that Waltham Forest is the second worst of 408 locations in the
> Kingdom to raise a family. The Council always proudly proclaims it's motto
> "Fellowship is life" which is emblazoned on it's coat of arms. They should
> be mindful of the remainder of the motto which is rarely quoted "Lack of
> fellowship is death". A local politicians task is to continually
> and renew their community whilst preserving that which is best rather than
> allowing it to whither and die. Denying both residents and tourists access
> to their own heritage is no way to look forward to the future. There
> is no future without the past. Even in the words of their own motto, by
> closing these museums, local councillors would be promoting the process
> death and decay for their own borough.
> I would strongly urge the present day councillors of Waltham Forest to
> for all their residents needs, not just those needs the elected few decide
> upon. Your electorate do have a long memory.
> Michael Gilbey
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