Fringe Box



Letter: Guildford Is Not, And Must Not Become, A Cultural Desert

Published on: 28 Aug, 2015
Updated on: 26 Aug, 2015
Guildford Heritage Forum

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From Gavin Morgan

Last week several people leapt to the defence of this town after it had been called a cultural desert.

Of course we are not a cultural desert but we will be taking a step in that direction if we do not stand up for our museum. That is why a group of us formed the Guildford Heritage Forum.

Guildford Borough Council is reviewing the future of the museum after years of neglect and two failed lottery bids. The eviction of the Surrey Archaeological Society has fuelled fears that this is the end of the road for the museum.

The society founded the museum and own some of its best collections. How can we tell the story of the town’s Saxon origins if the objects illustrating that are in Woking? How can we tell the story of life in the beautiful villages outside our town if the internationally important rural life collection given to the Society by Gertrude Jekyll is no longer here?

However, there is hope. The council has thankfully started a review and we will be carry out our own work in to possible models for the future of the museum.  We will share everything we discover with the borough and hope to help them make a decision that is fitting for our town.

I would like to thank everyone who has joined our mailing list. I will be sending out a weekly newsletter and I urge others to join us. Stay informed, join the debate, give us your views and show you care about our heritage.

We cannot expect our busy councillors to listen if we do not speak and the forum is there to give us a louder voice.

If the council has run out of ideas over how to run the museum then we do not blame them. But we have plenty of ideas and plenty of contacts.

We cannot call ourselves an historic town if we do not care for our past. And besides I am convinced  we are not, and do not want anyone to accuse of being, a cultural desert.

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