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:
…and the SurveyMonkey petition here:

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:


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:
And the second petition here:

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:

You can visit Jonathan Djanogly’s constituency website here:


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:
…and the SurveyMonkey petition here:

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:

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:

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.


A tale of two petitions

The Friends of the Cromwell Museum have today launched a new petition in their efforts to prevent the closure of the Cromwell Museum.

The petition, at, takes just moments to complete.  It simply requires you to input your name, email address and postcode.  We have asked for your postcode so we can demonstrate that people both in Cambridgeshire and around the country oppose the Museum’s closure. Please do spare the time to add your name.

The Friends are in the process of setting up a second petition, on the Cambridgeshire County Council e-petition site.  We are unsure when this will be launched – the matter is now beyond our control – but we hope it will be soon.  Once live, this petition will be open to Cambridgeshire residents only.  If it should reach 3,000 signatures, there is an opportunity for the issue to be debated at a meeting of full Council.  We will let you know as soon as this petition is open.

Thank you for your ongoing support.