Care of its historical records

IT DOES seem extraordinary that North Somerset councillors have so little understanding of the function of the museum that moves are afoot to close it.

IT DOES seem extraordinary that North Somerset councillors have so little understanding of the function of the museum that moves are afoot to close it.

Surely, a district the size of North Somerset has a responsibility for the care of its historical record and the artefacts handed down to it over the generations.

We deserve it to our children that those precious museum collections are treasured and available. Something that cannot be achieved by a travelling exhibition and a storage shed.

The old Woodspring Council acted with wonderful enlightenment when they acquired the former Gaslight building in Burlington Street. The handsome (Grade II listed) new museum came complete with an internal courtyard cobbled with wooden blocks (to quieten horses hooves) - the building, by local architect Hans Price, tells a fascinating story in itself.


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It continues to have enormous charm and we know from the experience of our own children (and grandchildren) that they find it an intriguing and exciting place. After all, there is only so much you can get from a monitor screen - the real thing is so much more tangible and thrilling.

Another very important factor is that the museum has the only practical, purpose-designed exhibition area in the district - used hugely by local artists and schoolchildren.

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Cllr Peter Bryant describes the museum as being "down a back street with impossible parking". We don't see where parking comes into it, since cars can park upside down on pavements in Weston these days. And Burlington Street is hardly a back street. It is close to the railway station and bus termini - in the very heart of the town. The building would be helped enormously by some good signage - which is virtually non-existent.

Cllr Bryant's claim that North Somerset will have something 'bigger and better' isn't born out by experience - for example; promises of refurbished tennis courts which never happened; after losing the Winter Gardens courts to development. The loss of the museum would be immeasurably more important. Surely, in these straightened times, holding on tight to what is priceless and irreplaceable is what matters.

We do feel that, should the Burlington Street museum be destroyed, future generations will look back on North Somerset's action as being one of culpable vandalism. Some legacy.

DR HOWARD AND ROSIE SMITH

Stafford Place, Weston.

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