A campaign is underway to save Huntingdon’s Cromwell Museum from closure after it was named in a list of potential county council cuts.

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The High Street heritage asset, widely regarded as the town’s most important tourist attraction, could close by the end of 2014.

Cambridgeshire County Council says closing it would save £20,000 in 2015/16, part of its plans to slash £149million from the budget by 2019.

In response, supporters of the museum have urged people to back their efforts to keep it open.

The Friends of the Cromwell Museum, a group set up earlier this year, wants people to contact the county council, particularly Councillor David Harty, the cabinet member for education and learning, and chief executive Mark Lloyd, to express concerns about the threat to the museum’s future.

Friends group chairman Victor Lucas said Cromwell was a son of Cambridgeshire and of importance to the entire county. He also warned that the uncertainty hanging over the museum could see it lose some of its artefacts.

“Most of the items are on loan from descendents of Cromwell,” he said. “We have continuing loan arrangements due for renewal next summer. If there’s no assurance by then they could be lost to Cambridgeshire forever.”

Richard Meredith, of Huntingdon and Godmanchester Civic Society, said the museum was of national and international importance.

“As a Huntingdonian, I think it’s disgraceful Cambridgeshire County Council is considering closing this museum,” he added. “It illustrates yet again how Cambridgeshire treats Huntingdonshire shoddily and sees us as a milk cow.

“It wants to use us to build housing, but we have something unique and they want to get rid of it.”

Cllr Harty, who represents Little Paxton and St Neots North on the county council, said he had received a number of letters in support of retaining the museum, but admitted axing its funding had to be considered.

“We are having to save in all areas of the county council,” he said. “We do not want to lose the value the museum provides but we need to continue to save money.”

Cllr Harty said the proposed timescale attached to the potential closure meant there was 18 months to find an alternative way to run the museum.

INFORMATION: For more on the campaign, visit http://savethecromwellmuseum.org.

1 comment

  • I was a Conservative County Councillor (for the old Newmarket No. 1 Ward and then the Burwell Ward) for many years. I was also a member of the Cromwell Museum Management Committee during the periods when Cllr. Mrs Mary Price and Mr Peter Johnson were chairmen. I recall there being active Conservatives who were against anything to do with Oliver Cromwell. The proposed closure of the Oliver Cromwell Museum at Huntingdon - for a saving of £20k - smacks of a prejudiced political ploy behind the scenes. I don't like it one bit. The proposal must be stopped in its tracks. Oliver Cromwell was greater by far than the political pygmies who rule us now and Cambridgeshire must keep this splendidly popular Museum open and going.

    Report this comment

    Geoffrey Woollard

    Wednesday, December 25, 2013

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