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Archaeological Society Start To Move Out from Guildford Museum

Museum signThe Surrey Archaeological Society (SAS) has started to move some possessions out of Guildford  Museum but its spokesperson Emma Corke said that it has not yet, “given up on Guildford”.

Asked to confirm that the move out had commenced, Ms Corke said: “We have moved our map cabinets which we only had a month’s notice to move. They were in the basement under a different agreement from everything else.

“We have been looking for another location since we have been given notice to quit, and that’s what we are still doing.”

SAS logoBut although there are reports that some society members want to cut their links with Guildford, and even that they have had a meeting with Woking Borough Council about a new possible home there, Emma Corke added: “There is a certain distrust, but we have not given up on Guildford.”

The SAS has also taken preliminary steps to make its librarian redundant. “We are hoping that this won’t be necessary but if we are unable to find a new home for our library then yes, she will have to be made redundant, as a direct consequence of our expected departure.”

Commenting on old plans, once again put forward for discussion, to open the rear of the museum and allow direct access from the Guildford Castle Grounds, also an element part of the two failed Heritage Lottery Fund bids, Ms Corke said: “We always supported it; we thought it was an excellent idea. It would make sense of the whole castle if visitors entered the museum from the castle itself.”

Mary Alexander

Mary Alexander

Dr Mary Alexander, former collections officer at the museum, said: “The eviction of the Surrey Archaeological Society from the museum is very sad.  I hope that Guildford Borough Council (GBC) will have a change of heart, but meanwhile the local history research material and the library books are having to be dispersed to a number of different locations.

“They may not be accessible to members and the public in these new locations, and effectively there will be no library.  Dismantling an institution like this will make it difficult to revive it, and it reflects very badly on GBC.  The process upsets me deeply, after forty years association with the society.”

Gavin Morgan

Gavin Morgan

The review of the museum continues under the chairmanship of Cllr Geoff Davis (Con, Holy Trinity). Gavin Morgan who has set up a website Guildford Heritage Forum to allow the public to make comments and suggestions is due to speak at one of the next meetings.

At this evening’s (September 29) GBC Executive meeting the council leader Cllr Stephen Mansbridge (Con, Ash South & Tongham) reminded those present that the council still had to find savings of between £5 and £6 million over the next three years and said: “…we are doing everything to sweat our assets and we are doing everything to bring forward the commercialisation of trade services”.

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2 Responses to Archaeological Society Start To Move Out from Guildford Museum

  1. Gavin Morgan Reply

    September 30, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    This is extremely sad news for our town. Guildford would not have a museum were it not for the Surrey Archaeological Society.

    The more I look into its history, the more I realise just how well we, as a town, have done out of it. We have to bring this to a happy conclusion.

    Come on Guildford Borough Council – sort this out.

  2. Peta Malthouse Reply

    October 3, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    This is all dreadful news. Our archaeology and the history of our important town should not be compromised in this way. A sympathetic borough council would have offered a plan to move to other easily accessible locations.

    Insufficient weight has been given to the importance of our heritage and the educational information that is available from this central site and far too little help is being given to the society.

    Shame on you Guildford Borough Council. You appear to have made yet another lousy decision. What price consultation and a little effort?

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