The Glass Association Part 1:
Youâ€™re probably aware of the proposal by Dudley Council to close Broadfield House and â€śmoveâ€ť to the Red House Cone site by March 2010. Weâ€™ve just been informed that a final decision is being taken on March 2nd !!! Hardly a reasonable time for consultation and the input of other ideas. Please read the attachment, act on the â€śHow Can You Helpâ€ť section. Many Thanks; Brian Clarke, Chairman
BROADFIELD HOUSE IN CRISIS
On the 5th. January, the staff of Broadfield House were told that Dudley Council is proposing to close the Broadfield House Museum and move the collections and research resource through to The Red House Cone site, as from March 2010.
Having consulted with staff, councilors and friends of Broadfield House it would appear that the move is probably designed as a cost cutting exercise. In this case, it would be unlikely that funding would be available from the council to expand the Red House Cone site. If this is true, then the move from Broadfield House would be to downgrade the museum facility.
At present, at the Red House Cone, there is neither enough exhibition space, nor adequate lecture space. The research material, library and collections would be hidden away. Because of this, the owners of the loan collections (which include the Friends of Broadfield House) may well want them returned. Furthermore, there is already a large amount of glass in store at Broadfield House and at Himley Hall which is not displayed!
It would be a major loss for glass researchers, makers, enthusiasts and collectors, for the important resources of Broadfield House to be lost to use. As one of the â€śmajorâ€ť glass attractions, bringing visitors to Stourbridge, it would also be a loss to Dudley Council. Its importance as the repository of major glass collections, especially of the 20th. century Stourbridge area, is international.
The Red House Cone site is owned by Waterford Wedgwood. Dudley Council has a lease on most of the area, but not the Stuart shop, the tea rooms and some of the buildings at the back of the site. It would seem that no decisions can reasonably be made until the intentions of the administrators / new owners of Waterford Wedgwood are known.
In view of the above, The Glass Association is campaigning to stop this move unless and until the Red House Cone site is fully prepared, in order to show as a minimum, the collections that are at the moment displayed and that adequate facilities are created to house the research material. They both need to be readily accessible. Ideally, new lecture facilities would also be created.
The Friends of Broadfield House have just met with Museum Staff and some of the Dudley Councillors, their succinct conclusions were:
- There had been no prior consultation
- There had been no detailed financial evaluation
- There had been no detailed practical evaluation
- External funding should be considered
- The time scale was very short to consider the above issues
The Friends, The Glass Association and The Glass Circle would fully support from the move if it were to improve and enhance the Broadfield Museum experience. However, it has been said that the only way Dudley Council can save money is to close Broadfield House down completely and either box up the collection for posterity, or sell it! The Council would be guilty of losing an entire glass heritage.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
The BBC still has a web page in operation, which will allow you to put your objections to this hastily conceived and ill thought out proposal: TIME IS SHORT.
Add to the comments already on this blog.www.bbc.co.uk/blackcountry/content/articles/2009/01/15/broadfield_house_feature.shtml
Please also write your comments to:
Mr J Millar, Director of Urban Environment, Dudley MBC, 3 St Jamesâ€™s Road, DUDLEY DY1 1HZ
Mr Duncan Lowndes, Assistant Director Culture & Leisure, Directorate of the Urban Environment Culture & Community, Claughton House, Blowers Green Road, Dudley, West Midlands
Councillor Karen Shakespeare, Dudley MBC, The Council House, Priory Road, DUDLEY DY1