Save the Cromwell Museum: a campaign update

After the whirl of activity that led to the presentation of the petition to Cambridgeshire County Council, the campaign has been on hold.  Here is an update to let you know how things stand at present – and what the next steps are.

As you will be aware, the fact that the petition reached nearly 4,000 signatures meant that the sought after debate at the full meeting of the Council was achieved.

This meeting took place on the 18 February.  The spokesperson for the Friends, Bob Pugh, was invited to speak, to represent the case against the proposed budgetary cut in 2015/16 that would inevitably have led to the closure of the Museum.

In a very effective, short speech, Bob stressed to Councillors the historical importance of the Museum and its collection, as well as the benefits it brings to Huntingdon and the wider local economy.

The issue was then debated. The chairman of the Museum’s management committee, Peter Downes, declared that it would be unthinkable for the Museum to close and argued for more time for solutions to be sought. In response, the Cabinet member with responsibility for the Museum, David Harty, acknowledged the weight of opinion against the proposed funding cut.

In the subsequent budget debate, an amendment that funding be extended for a further twelve months until 2016-17 was proposed and carried by 57 votes to 4.

Forcing the debate and making the Council reconsider its decision represents a huge achievement by the campaign.  We would like to thank all of you again for your support.     However, the Museum’s future is still far from certain.

A consultant, paid for by an external grant, is currently reviewing options for alternative governance (i.e. seeking another body to run the Museum other than the Council).  The consultant will report in April. It is undoubtedly going to be extremely challenging to find a viable solution for sustainable funding, but the additional year will make a huge difference in trying to secure the Museum’s future.

We will let you all know what the consultant has proposed, and how things progress from there, as soon as possible.

 

 

Finale to amazing week: Civil War artillery to roll through Huntingdon tomorrow!

This has been an extraordinary week in the campaign to Save the Cromwell Museum: on Monday, the Friends of the Museum handed over the Council petition to the Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, Martin Curtis and the Cabinet member with responsibility for the relevant area of service, Councillor David Harty.

The petition – with almost 4,000 signatures from people living or working in Cambridgeshire – is the first since the Council established its petitions facility to successfully lead to a debate at full Council.  This is scheduled to take place next Tuesday, 18 February.

You can watch the petition handover, an interview with Bob Pugh, spokesperson for the Friends and footage shot in the Museum itself here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cambridgeshire-26138632

The first objective of the campaign, to achieve the debate at full Council over the budget proposals, has been met in resounding fashion.  Cambridgeshire County Council is aware of the strength of support for the Museum both within and beyond the County, thanks to the Council petition and the online SurveyMonkey petition which has been signed by people not just from around the UK but from around the world.  Thank you all for your support.

This Saturday, the Museum will be running an event, as part of the programme of activities the Museum organises throughout the year.  The Sealed Knot reenactment charity are sending Lord Robartes’ Regiment of the Army of Parliament, who will bring a cannon to the Museum and pull it through the town, demonstrating how artillery pieces were used during the English Civil Wars.  This event is free and open to all.

The fun will start at 10:30am so if you are in the area, please come and say hello!

Information about this event and the full programme of activities for 2014 are accessible on the County Council’s website here:
http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/leisure/museums/cromwell/exhibitions.htm

 

 

 

 

The campaign to Save the Cromwell Museum reaches today’s Times

Today The Times newspaper has published a short article about the campaign along with a letter signed by 33 academics who are opposed to the Museum’s closure.

The article appears on page 18 (click the image to enlarge, then hit back on your browser to return to this post):

Times_article

The letter appears on page 29 (click the image to enlarge, then hit back on your browser to return to this post):

Times_letter

We’re delighted with this significant national coverage and would like to thank those who both organised and signed the letter published today.

ITV Anglia News covers campaign ahead of signature collection today

Last night’s ITV Anglia News broadcast an excellent package on the threat to the Cromwell Museum and interviewed Bob Pugh of the Friends of the Museum. You can watch it here:
http://www.itv.com/news/anglia/update/2014-01-24/cromwell-museum-is-threatened-with-closure/

Filming took place on Friday ahead of today’s signature collection in Huntingdon town centre.  Many of those who signed the petition said that they were aware of the proposed closure of the Museum due to coverage received in local newspapers and regional television.

Huntingdon was busy with shoppers today and the full count could again run into hundreds gathered in just a few hours.  We will update you in the coming days on the total number of signatures received to the Cambridgeshire County Council petition, collating the online and paper copies – we have until 5 February to reach the target of 3,000 which will force a full debate of Council on the proposed closure of the Museum.  Please encourage anyone you know who supports the campaign but who may not have signed the petition to do so as soon possible.

If you live/own a business/work/attend a school or college in Cambridgeshire….
…then please sign the Cambridgeshire County Council ePetition against the proposed closure of the Cromwell Museum here:
http://epetition.cambridgeshire.public-i.tv/epetition_core/community/petition/2545
and the SurveyMonkey petition here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CromwellMuseum

If you do not live/own a business/work/attend a school or college in Cambridgeshire but do want to express your concern about the proposed closure of the Museum…
…please add your name here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CromwellMuseum

 

History Today magazine covers the campaign to save the Cromwell Museum

Image

The oldest and most respected history magazine in the UK has this week published an article by Patrick Little, Chairman of the Cromwell Association, bringing the campaign to save the Cromwell Museum to a national audience.

The piece can be viewed online here:

http://www.historytoday.com/patrick-little/save-cromwell-museum

Little concludes his piece by quoting the man himself:
“In August 1650, when addressing another intransigent body – the General Assembly of the Scottish Kirk – Oliver Cromwell begged them to ‘think it possible you may be mistaken’. We can only hope similar pleas will be heeded by Cambridgeshire County Council in 2014.”

The magazine’s headline is ‘DON’T MENTION THE CIVIL WARS’ and the cover article, Reluctant Regicides (p18), by Richard Weight and Toby Haggith, asks why modern Britons still find it so hard to acknowledge their revolutionary past.  This only emphasises the importance of a Museum which interprets one of the key figures of the Civil Wars.

History Today (Volume: 64 Issue: 2 2014) – which features a striking image of the statue of Oliver Cromwell at St Ives on the front cover – is on sale now.

Just two quick clicks to add your name to the campaign!

If you live/own a business/work/attend a school or college in Cambridgeshire….
…then please sign the Cambridgeshire County Council ePetition against the proposed closure of the Cromwell Museum here:
http://epetition.cambridgeshire.public-i.tv/epetition_core/community/petition/2545
and the SurveyMonkey petition here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CromwellMuseum

If you do not live/own a business/work/attend a school or college in Cambridgeshire but do want to express your concern about the proposed closure of the Museum…
…please add your name here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CromwellMuseum

If over 3,000 signatures are recorded on the Cambridgeshire County Council ePetition, we can ask for it to be debated at a meeting of full Council.  The SurveyMonkey petition will be presented as evidence of the strength of feeling both within, and outside, the county about the proposal to withdraw funding from the Cromwell Museum.

Thank you for your support!

Huntingdon townspeople show their support for the Museum

Lindsay Cassedy and Bob Pugh collecting signatures in Huntingdon on Saturday 18 January.

Lindsay Cassedy and Bob Pugh collecting signatures. Photo courtesy of Helen Drake, Hunts Post.

On Saturday (18 January) the Friends of the Cromwell Museum gathered in Huntingdon town centre with hard copies of the Cambridgeshire County Council petition and spoke to people about the threat to the Museum.  The response was fantastic, with over 350 signatures received in two hours.

The Friends will be gathering signatures again on Saturday 25 January.  Currently the ePetition stands at 915 signatures; with the addition of signatures received in hard copy, we are approaching the 1,500 mark.  We need a really big push between now and the closing date of 5 February to get to the 3,000 signatures needed to force a debate of full Council.

If you live/own a business/work/attend a school or college in Cambridgeshire….

…then please sign the CCC ePetition here:
http://epetition.cambridgeshire.public-i.tv/epetition_core/community/petition/2545
…and the SurveyMonkey petition here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CromwellMuseum

If you do not live/own a business/work/attend a school or college in Cambridgeshire but do want to express your concern about the proposed closure of the Museum…

…please add your name here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CromwellMuseum

At the last count, the SurveyMonkey petition stood at over 2,300 signatures which is a fantastic achievement.  It will really demonstrate to the Council that the Museum is valued by people within and beyond the county, and even the country.

Thank you to Helen Drake at the Hunts Post for her permission to reproduce the photograph above.