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Heritage Forum Created For Museum Supporters

Published on: 23 Aug, 2015
Updated on: 27 Aug, 2015

Guildford Museum 02A new website for supporters of the Guildford Museum has been set up by historian Gavin Morgan who has written opinion pieces published on The Guildford Dragon NEWS.

Explaining his reasons for creating the new site Gavin Morgan said: “The Guildford Heritage Forum website ( has been set up to help the town follow and contribute to the debate about the future of Guildford  Museum.

“Guildford Museum needs to be sorted out, so we should welcome the Guildford Borough Council [GBC] review into its future.  The council has promised a proper review with input from local amenity and heritage groups.”

Guildford Heritage Forum

Screenshot of the new website.

The review is being led by Cllr Geoff Davis (Con, Holy Trinity), lead councillor for economic development, tourism and heritage, who has said he has been asked to “sort out” the museum where attendance figures have been in decline. It’s first meeting was last week (August 17) and councillors from across the political spectrum have been invited to participate.

An independent museum consultant is also to join the review team which will interview other knowledgeable and interested parties, including the former museum curator, Matthew Alexander, and the former collections officer, Dr Mary Alexander, who has been publicly critical of the way the matter has been handled so far.

The review comes against a background of increasing pressure on GBC’s budget, in line with all other local authorities. Commercialisation of services is one tactic the council are known to be considering to reduce costs.

Cllr Davis, a chartered surveyor who has a background in property development, has admitted that the rising value of Castle Arch, a property considered to have potential to return to desirable residential use, is a factor in his thinking.

Speculation continues that it is intended to move the museum to the public library building in North Street and, while the library, which is run by Surrey County Council, will move to other premises.

Mr Morgan hopes that his new website forum will encourage others to have their say on the museum’s future. He said: “I believe we should seize this opportunity. We all need to get involved. All of us who value our town’s heritage have a right to make our views known.”

“The Guildford Heritage Forum will follow up ideas people suggest and explore their viability by consulting experts in the museum profession. We will also be proactively contacting key individuals, schools and local interest groups to get their views.

“By the time the borough council reaches its public consultation phase we will have a body of knowledge in the public domain that will help us all make informed decisions.

“We need work together as a community to help the council make a decision we all like. If we sit silently and wait for the result of the council’s review we will only have ourselves to blame if we do not like it.

“I hope we will also have fun. Over the next few months we will have the opportunity to rediscover aspects of our heritage we did not know existed. My hope is that we can create something we can all be proud of.”

See other recent Guildford Museum articles here.

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Responses to Heritage Forum Created For Museum Supporters

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    August 26, 2015 at 8:57 pm

    Putting a property developer in charge of heritage sites does not seem very sensible. Perhaps putting someone vested in heritage matters would have made a little more sense.

  2. Gordon Bridger Reply

    August 27, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Ejection of the Surrey Archaeological Society (SAS) from the Guildford Museum, and the refusal, apparently, to accept their help in putting forward the Lottery bid, shows there must be a serious management problem.

    I am informed that the SAS has to be called in to advise on commercial developments which may have historical or archaeological remains – and Guildford is likely to have many of these in coming years.

    To expect willing co-operation in future from an organisation which, having done so much to rescue our past, has been treated in this way does not sound very intelligent to me.

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