Monkwearmouth Station Museum at risk of closure

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Monkwearmouth
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Monkwearmouth Station Museum at risk of closure

Post by Monkwearmouth » Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:46 pm

Most members of this forum will know, and some will have visited, Sunderland's Monkwearmouth Station Museum. The museum occupies and enables year-round visitor access to one of Sunderland's most striking architectural gems. The building was originally opened in 1848 as the terminus of the line from Newcastle promoted by George Hudson. Inside there is a striking NER booking hall and ticket office. It is deservedly Grade 2* listed. See the links below for more on its history.

Aside from the architecture, the museum displays some very important railway exhibits including a NER V4 brake van of 1916 and a LNER CCT (covered carriage truck) of 1939, both splendidly restored. The vehicles are accompanied by specially commissioned film revealing the work of the goods guard and the role of the railway in the transport of horsedrawn and motor vehicles. Monkwearmouth is especially popular with children and families; its displays cover all forms of transport around Wearside, not just railways, and the Metro trains which pass between the platforms every few minutes add immensely to the atmosphere of the place.

Sunderland City Council is currently threatening to close this cherished and highly regarded museum from the beginning of April. The Friends of Sunderland Museums (FOSUMS) broke the story to the media last week. The Council was clearly caught out by FOSUMS' spirited campaign (they probably planned to reveal nothing until the closure was 'done and dusted'). The Council's Leader is now saying that it will be 'just a short term mothballing'. However, once the galleries are closed to visitors we can be assured that the Council will have its way, and it must be highly unlikely that the museum will reopen.

The Council hasn't revealed what it intends to do with the property but there are fears that it may be leased, or even sold, for commercial use.

A Save Monkwearmouth Station Museum page has been opened on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1682029245387988/

I will post more information shortly, including ways to support the campaign should you feel so inclined. Meantime here are links to some of last week's press and media coverage:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tees-35586611

http://www.sunderlandecho.com/history-n ... -1-7732967

http://www.sunderlandecho.com/news/loca ... -1-7735763

http://www.sunderlandecho.com/history-n ... -1-7740242

Thanks for reading.

Monkwearmouth
Last edited by Monkwearmouth on Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Monkwearmouth
GER J70 0-6-0T Tram
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2011 7:37 pm

Re: Monkwearmouth Station Museum at risk of closure

Post by Monkwearmouth » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:48 pm

If you are minded to support the campaign to keep Monkwearmouth Station Museum open here are some options.

Write to, or email, either your local ward councillor (if you live in Sunderland), or the Leader of the Council

The easiest way to do this is to go to the Council website http://www.sunderland.gov.uk/committees ... mbers.aspx. Under each ward there are photos of the councillors and their names. When you click on their names their contact details, including their email addresses, appear. The Councillors who should particularly be contacted are those elected in 2012 as they will be coming up for re-election in May.

By post their address is Councillor [name] c/o Civic Centre, Burdon Road, Sunderland SR2 7DN.

If you want to go straight to the top, the Leader of Sunderland City Council is Councillor Paul Watson, email address cllr.paul.watson@sunderland.gov.uk; postal address Councillor Paul Watson c/o Civic Centre, Burdon Road, Sunderland SR2 7DN

Write to The Sunderland Echo, email: echo.letters@northeast-press.co.uk , or by post: The Editor, Readers’ Letters, Sunderland Echo, Alexander House, Rainton Bridge DH4 5RA.

If you live locally consider making a visit to the museum, encourage the staff while you're there, and leave an appropriate comment in the visitors' book, on a comment card or whatever they have there. By the way, the current exhibition is Ian S Carr: A Wearside Railway Photographer, a tribute to one of the country's best-known railway photographers who died a year ago: http://www.experienceithere.co.uk/event ... otographer

FOSUMS want to attract to the campaign a wide range of individually stated opinions on the value of Monkwearmouth, so they are keen not simply to attract 'standard' responses. However, if you live outside the City a useful argument would be that Monkwearmouth Station Museum is a nationally known building which attracts people to the City (even better if you can actually say you've visited Sunderland because of it) and that, while economies might be necessary, it is important that it is open for at least part of the week.

I'm attaching a short statement from FOSUMS which touches upon several other points which you may wish to consider.

Thanks again,
Monkwearmouth
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