Author Topic: Broadfield House to Close  (Read 94045 times)

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Offline yelooc

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Re: Broadfield House to Close
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2009, 02:03:25 PM »
Apparently the councils plan was/is to close Broadfield House and move its contents to the Red House Cone (the former Stuart Crystal site); which would be a much smaller space. The problem is that the site is owned by Wedgwood Waterford, which is in administration.

The situation is therefore rather complex. The key thing is for everyone to show Dudley Council that they have an important National asset that we all care about.

Graham

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Offline David E

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Re: Broadfield House to Close
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2009, 02:06:24 PM »
Also worth emphasising that it is a NATIONAL Glass Museum, not just Stourbridge.
David
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Offline Ivo

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Re: Broadfield House to Close
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2009, 02:13:05 PM »
Time to think something positive. What would be the best solution to keep the collection open and accessible: Broadfield house, Sunderland, V&A, Pilkington or the National archives? 
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Sklounion

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Re: Broadfield House to Close
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2009, 04:55:31 PM »
Hi Ivo,
If we are talking the NGC Sunderland, they have no collection.
V&A have a collection, but not enough of it is ever on display.
Pilkington's is a commercial outfit... If the World of Glass were to end up in the same situation as WW, the collection would surely be sold.
so looks like Broadfield House would be the most appropriate situation, unless there were to be a new glass museum being built in Dudley....
but I guess this current proposal is based on a lack of money, rather than DMBC having the funds to buy the Red House Cone and create a flagship new museum.
M


Offline Glen

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Re: Broadfield House to Close
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2009, 05:11:35 PM »
I was also stunned to read this.

Does anyone know how Himley Hall fits into the big picture? Broadfield House holds the Notley Lerpiniere Carnival Glass collection (on loan); a collection of great importance. That glass is currently at Himley Hall. The Carnival Glass Society (UK) had a reception at Himley in September 2008, to view the Carnival collection.

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Offline David E

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Re: Broadfield House to Close
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2009, 05:21:08 PM »
Himley Hall is part of Dudley Metropolitan Council, so the building will be exempt from this as it is used as a conference centre, amongst other things. The fate of the archives and collections within it is another thing. However, would Dudley be permitted to sell off the collections? While some pieces were purchased, some collections were donated.

Having seen the Carnival glass collection on many occasions, I can confirm it is absolutely stunning, but surely any collections on loan would be safe from being dispersed and would have to be returned to the owner(s)?
David
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Offline Anne

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Re: Broadfield House to Close
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2009, 05:28:03 PM »
I'd guess that the National Archives would only be interested in the paperwork, Ivo. I can't see them wanting to take the exhibits which would probably be more relevant in the V&A but previous topics have referred to perceptions that glass is the poor relation in the V&A collection so it perhaps would not be an ideal venue. I do think the collection needs to be kept together if BH is to close, so paperwork and exhibits all should be retained as a research and display collection rather than divided between other venues.

I seem to recall reading that govt wants to spread collections around the country rather than have them all concentrated in London, so to that end I'd be looking at a dedicated Glass Museum elsewhere than the capital. I also think it should not be run by any local authority to avoid the sorts of problems being seen with Bury, or by a company in case of insolvency and subsequent liquidation of the collection.

A relocated and restructured glass museum would probably need independent (and charitable?) status and be run by trust which can access funding from charitable and private sectors, with trustees drawn from local councillors, business, academia and collectors to ensure a balance of viewpoints. A support/fundraising group of Friends would probably be required also.

Locating such a museum in the centre of the country near to good transport links and near traditional glassmaking areas makes sense. Sunderland is perceived to be so far north but in fact is not far from middle of the country if you look at Britain as opposed to just England, which would bring in the option to cover glass north of the border.  If, as Marcus says, the NGC has no collection, then maybe this could form the core of one to enhance the NGC experience, but their focus seems to be more on transient exhibitions than permanent displays.

Pilkington's at St Helen's is a commercial enterprise which has a massive collection, much of which is not on permanent display due to lack of space, according to emails I had from a member of their staff, so that would raise concerns about how accessible the collection from BH would be, as well as the previously mentioned corporate solvency issues.

If the intention is to be an English (rather than British) National Glass Museum, then a location in the Midlands makes more sense from an access point of view, and if the Red Cone was available and could be leased or bought by such a museum trust, it could prove an ideal venue. (I note there are four surviving glass cones in Britain, one in Lemington in use as a stove showroom, one in Rotherham in a sheltered housing complex, and the last in Alloa in Scotland, so the Red Cone appears to be the only English cone option. Currently the Red Cone appears to be run (?leased?) by Dudley authority as well - is this correct?)

The other suggestion of incorporating the museum into the Ruskin Glass Centre also has merit and could, depending on the management and organisational structure intended, work extremely well.

I think the most important thing at the moment, for us as a group or as individuals, is to ensure (as Nigel said earlier in this topic) that the word is spread as widely as possible and to stay alert for any developments or official announcements made.


Sklounion

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Re: Broadfield House to Close
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2009, 05:59:37 AM »
Hi, Sadly there are very few non- local government funded public museums in the UK, most central government funded ones get their funding from DCMS.

Note that the list of DCMS sponsored institutions shows significant emphasis on London and the South, the exceptions being Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Tyne and Wear.The Midlands get nothing.

British Museum
Geffrye Museum
Horniman Museum
Imperial War Museum
Museum of London
Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester
National Gallery
National Maritime Museum
National Museums Liverpool
National Museum of Science & Industry
National Portrait Gallery
Natural History Museum
Royal Armouries
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Tate
Tyne & Wear Museums Service
V&A
Wallace Collection

The NGC has no desire to form a collection, preferring to rely on loan materials.

M






Offline nigel benson

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Re: Broadfield House to Close
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2009, 07:47:22 PM »

As I understand it the collection that belongs to Dudley Council and held at Broadfield House is predominately based on glass produced in the Stourbridge/Midlands area - even though there is a great deal more there, including, as others have pointed out a number of loan collections.

Whilst we are all likely to have our own preferred option for the collection and its supporting archive I think that we must not lose sight of two things.

1) That it is the collection and archive that is important and not the building.

2) That should the council decide that the move to the Red Cone is its preferred option, then as the phrase goes, they will be pouring a quart into a pint pot. I daresay the argument will be that it will only be on a temporary basis, but experience suggests that is likely to become a permanant situation.

As I understand the situation, the Cone is leased on a peppercorn rent from Waterford Wedgwood; how this is affected by the current situation that they find themselves in I have no idea, but one thing I do know, any administrator worth their salt will try and make any asset available for liquidation in some way - so to my mind there in a potential problem regarding the whole of the Red Cone site. That said the agreement may well be sound and unbreakable.

There is a factory shop on the site which is still part of WW that may become available - BUT that will in no way make the difference to the amount of floorspace required.

Given this small amount of information, some of which is from memory some surmised, my concern is now that the museum and its contents will not be given the breathing space that it so desperately requires. The council will look, understandably for any costcutting that they can achieve, so the bottom line will have been achieved - but at long term cost to a collection (group of collections) that have national significance.

If we allow that to happen then it will take far more effort to get a new building or site for the collection in the future than to put pressure on to keep it at Broadfield House now. Remember, for many year the muesum has been lokking and hoping for larger premises, so reduction in its size would indeed be a retrograde step.

Lastly, contrary to any assumptions about visitor numbers, I understand that they went UP by over a third last year - now, there's some ammunition for the course.

Oh, as for the Ruskin Centre, whilst I am aware that they have secured some funding, my personal feelings are that the site is not best suited to incorporate the museum and its collections as well.

Nigel



Offline yelooc

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Re: Broadfield House to Close
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2009, 08:02:16 PM »
Nigel,

that's a great summary of the situation and reflects my current understand perfectly. How do you suggest we help the council make the right decisions and understand our concerns?

Graham
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