History Today magazine covers the campaign to save the Cromwell Museum

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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.

Please help keep the pressure up

On Saturday 18th January the Friends of the Cromwell Museum will be collecting signatures on a paper copy of the Cambridgeshire County Council petition outside the Museum from 10.30am onwards.

The signatures are mounting up on both petitions. The SurveyMonkey petition, which is open to everyone, has now received over 2,400 signatories from around the world – a fantastic achievement in such a short time.  Today we are also pleased to announce that the Cambridgeshire County Council ePetition has received over 1,000 signatures from people who live, work or study in Cambridgeshire.  However, we need more people to sign if the ePetition is to have the maximum benefit: 3,000 signatures would force a debate of full council and we have until the 5 February to achieve this number.

Sadly, it appears that, to date, lobbying has had no effect on the Council’s proposal to remove the funding from the Museum. When the draft budget was discussed at the Cabinet meeting of the County Council earlier this week, no amendment was made.

This means that the proposal to withdraw funding will now go forward to the full meeting of Council on 18th February. We can only hope that the proposal to withdraw all funding will be subject to amendment at the Council meeting.

The Friends have been informed that a consultant has been hired to look at alternative options for running the Museum, with a reporting date in April.

To take a final decision before learning the outcome of the consultant’s work would, we believe,  be deeply regrettable.
 

Cromwell Museum Management Committee – report of meeting

The Friends were represented at the Cromwell Museum Management Committee, which took place on Tuesday 7th January.

The case for withdrawing funding was put by the Cabinet Member David Harty and the Head of Service, Christine May. It was clear in response to questions from both the Friends representative and the Local History Society representative that there was no thought-through alternative to shutting the door on the Museum if no alternative provider comes to the rescue.

The Committee learnt that an externally funded review of the viability of and options for devolving governance away from the Council was about to be commissioned, with a reporting date of 25th April.  This is after the key dates of the Cabinet meeting next week and the meeting of Full Council on 18th February. For this reason it is critical that pressure is maintained and as many people sign both petitions if eligible, or the Survey Monkey one if from outside the county.  The Friends strongly feel that no decision on the future of the Museum should be taken until that review has been received and considered.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the campaign so far. Please continue to spread the word about the threat to the Museum and the two petitions.

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

Huntingdon MP lends his support to campaign

Jonathan Djanogly MPThe Friends of the Cromwell Museum are delighted to report that Jonathan Djanogly MP, the Member of Parliament for the Huntingdon Constituency, has today lent his support to the campaign.

Mr Djanogly said:

“Given the importance of the legacy of Oliver Cromwell to Huntingdonshire, it is unconscionable that we lose Huntingdon’s Cromwell Museum.  I am absolutely committed to retaining this historical gem that is so important for recognition of past history and future tourism and education and I would urge you to sign the relevant petition(s) as soon as possible.”

Thank you to everyone who has signed the petition(s) so far.  The SurveyMonkey petition, launched in early December, is now very close to 1,000 signatures and in the four days since the launch of the Cambridgeshire County Council ePetition, 165 people have already signed.  If you haven’t already done so, here are those all-important petition links again. 

Do 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 second petition here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CromwellMuseum

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

You can visit Jonathan Djanogly’s constituency website here:
http://www.jonathandjanogly.com/

 

A tale of two petitions: part II

The second of our e-petitions is now open and receiving signatures!

This petition is to Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) using the authority’s own ePetitions facility. The number of signatures received will determine how it is dealt with by the Council. Over 50 signatures and we can speak directly to either the Cabinet member with responsibility for this area of service, or to a meeting of the Cabinet or relevant committee. If over 3,000 signatures are recorded we can ask for it to be debated at a meeting of full Council.

If you live, own a business, work or attend a school or college in Cambridgeshire, you are able to sign the CCC ePetition.  When you sign the CCC ePetition, please enter the address which links you to Cambridgeshire, be that your residence, business, place of employment, school or college.

The other e-petition (hosted at SurveyMonkey) has already received a fantastic response. Thank you very much if you have already signed it.  This 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.  If you are unable to sign the CCC ePetition because you do not meet the criteria, but still care about the issue, then please sign the SurveyMonkey petition.  Both petitions are important to the campaign.

In this tale of two petitions, you may be asking yourself the question “but which petition should I sign?”

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

Thanks to all of you who have been supporting the campaign so far, by signing the petitions, writing letters and emails, following us on Twitter and sharing the news of the campaign far and wide.

 

Don’t forget to sign our e-petition!

Our e-petition is open and receiving ‘e-signatures’ here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CromwellMuseum

The petition will take just moments to complete – all we need is your name, email address and postcode.  We’re collecting postcodes so we can demonstrate to Cambridgeshire County Council that people who live both in and beyond the county value the Cromwell Museum and wish to keep it open.

Once you have signed the petition, it would be fantastic if you could share the link with your friends and family, asking them to sign too.

If you use Twitter, you can sign up to follow the campaign @SaveCromwellMsm – see the Twitter widget on the right hand side of this page.

That old (roast) chestnut about Cromwell and Christmas

Any news story that mentions Cromwell at this time of the year almost inevitably reports that Oliver Cromwell singlehandedly banned Christmas when he was Lord Protector. It has been said so many times that many people believe it to be true, but like so many things to do with Cromwell, it is a myth that, deliberately or not, helps perpetuate a negative image.

Today it is impossible to comprehend just how significant religion (and exclusively Christianity) was in this country in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. People died for their beliefs, persecuted and burnt at the stake, sometimes for holding Protestant views and sometimes for holding Catholic ones.

The church in Scotland banned Christmas as early as the 1560s. The argument was that there was no scriptural basis for the celebration of Christmas, and therefore it was pagan, Popish and profane. Protestants, who could now read the Bible for the first time in English, were often literal and fundamentalist in their interpretation of the text.

Against this background, it was hardly surprising that Parliament in the 1640s, as the representatives of a Protestant and Godly nation, should decide that Christmas should not be celebrated. The Directory of Public Worship of 1645, which set out all the new forms of worship, made no reference to Christmas.

Parliament had to confront three issues: it had to convince people that the celebration was irreligious. In this they largely failed, as many wanted to stick to the old ways. There were significant pro-Christmas riots in places like Bury St Edmunds, Norwich and Ipswich in the later 1640s.

Secondly, Parliament tried to suppress religious services on Christmas Day. In this they were more successful, with few services being held to mark the day throughout the 1640s and 1650s.

Thirdly, 25th December was declared a normal working day. Parliament sat on Christmas Day, and many others treated it as a normal day.  However, many others did not and continued to want to celebrate with feasting and dancing.

Why does Cromwell get the blame for all of this?  Cromwell would almost certainly have supported the Parliament’s line, of which he was a part, but so would thousands of other devout Protestants. Cromwell neither proposed nor initiated the end of Christmas.  His image as a dour Puritan is a creation of the 19th century, just as much as a ‘traditional’ Christmas is a creation of Dickens. As with so many things to do with Cromwell, you cannot see the issue outside of the context of the times in which it happened.

Please support the campaign to keep the Cromwell Museum in Huntingdon open. Sign our e-petition here. 

Please watch (and share) our short campaign film

We are pleased to present this short campaign film, in which Victor Lucas and Bob Pugh, members of the Friends of the Cromwell Museum, discuss the significance of Cromwell the man, as well as the importance of the Cromwell Museum to the town of Huntingdon and the wider county of Cambridgeshire.

Please watch the film and share it with your friends.  Don’t forget to ask them to sign the petition against the Museum’s closure here.

With warm thanks to filmmaker Simon Kennedy (Firewater Partnership) for his support.