Calls to showcasing Hartlepool's history and save artefacts from being 'gobbled up'

Historical artefacts acquired in Hartlepool as part of its museum collection must be protected and showcased and not ‘gobbled up’, councillors have said.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 3:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 12:43 pm
Museum of Hartlepool.

Town leaders have been looking at how the Museum of Hartlepool deals with acquiring items, along with how it deals with those already in its collection, at the council’s Regeneration Services Committee.

Councillors said they wanted items to be protected to ‘safeguard the town’s heritage’ and showcased where possible.

Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, chair of the committee, said part of the council’s recent investment plan involves looking at funding new museum developments by the Waterfront.

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He called for the committee to receive an update on numerous items linked to the town’s heritage, including plans for the 100-year anniversary of the Museum of Hartlepool later this year and looking at where items can be displayed.

He said: “Perhaps we could capture in that report the plans with regards to museums and events, and a lot of long-term plans are to display what we possess as a town.

“We could also touch on what is going to be happening in the town to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE day and for the week-long event planned for November for the 100-year anniversary of Hartlepool museum.”

It came after Coun Jim Lindridge stressed the importance of assets in the museum’s collection and how they should not be sold off.

He said: “I think the important thing is we need to safeguard our heritage. I know it’s been mooted in the past that we’ve got some expensive artworks, paintings and such like, and I’d be loathed to sell them off because you’ll never get them back.

“Even though things can be tough at times, it could be tougher down the line. If you’re selling these items, if we did intend to sell them, and a museum gobbles them up and another 20 years down the line we’ve got no heritage at all and no assets.”

The museum collection originated in 1919.

In 1986,the collection acquired its largest object, the 1934 paddle steamer Wingfield Castle. Recent acquisitions include the Reg Smythe Collection (2016), with items relating to his creation Andy Capp.