‘Moment in history’ as more than 200 people show support for Buxton Museum and Art Gallery at a mass photocall

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Hundreds of people turned up to show their support for Buxton Museum and Art Gallery after it was announced the building is to be sold off after being closed for a year.

The mass photocall was already planned to mark the one year anniversary of the sudden closure of the museum.

However, since then Derbyshire County Council, DCC, who own the museum on Terrace Road, have put Peak Buildings up for sale.

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The gathering still went ahead as a show of solidarity for the museum and for people who do not want the collections, the museum and the gallery to be lost for good

The large crowd gathered outside Buxton Museum to protest its closure. Photo Jason ChadwickThe large crowd gathered outside Buxton Museum to protest its closure. Photo Jason Chadwick
The large crowd gathered outside Buxton Museum to protest its closure. Photo Jason Chadwick

We Are Buxton, a group of eight local, not-for-profit community groups working in-and-for the town, has led a Love Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, BMAG, campaign.

Jean Ball spokesperson for the group said: “It was brilliant and more than 200 people turned up - a real moment in history."

Jean says the gallery has been the launch pad for several successful artists and the museum is not just a town archive it is people’s family archives too and memories from across the generations are there.

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Among those who attended the demonstration was Ros Westwood MBE, the retired Derbyshire Museums Manager, who worked at Buxton Museum for 25 years.

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More than 200 people turned up to the demonstration to show support against the closure of Buxton Museum and art Gallery. Photo Jason ChadwickMore than 200 people turned up to the demonstration to show support against the closure of Buxton Museum and art Gallery. Photo Jason Chadwick
More than 200 people turned up to the demonstration to show support against the closure of Buxton Museum and art Gallery. Photo Jason Chadwick

She said: “I come here standing on the shoulders of ten previous curators who have worked tirelessly for the town to have - at the people’s request - this museum. It was very much the people who asked for it and it is the people’s collection.”

Catherine Parker Heath, Community and Conservation Archaeologist with the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “This is such an important museum for Buxton but also the National Park.”

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, was abruptly closed on 1 June 2023 following the discovery of dry rot in the building’s structural timbers, posing a safety risk.

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The building has not just been the home of the town’s museum and art gallery but also the town hall was based out of there and during the First World War it was a hospital for injured Canadian soldiers.

5,000 people have also signed  a petition calling to save Buxton Museum and Art Gallery which will be presented to Derbyshire County Council in a few weeks. Photo Jason Chadwick5,000 people have also signed  a petition calling to save Buxton Museum and Art Gallery which will be presented to Derbyshire County Council in a few weeks. Photo Jason Chadwick
5,000 people have also signed a petition calling to save Buxton Museum and Art Gallery which will be presented to Derbyshire County Council in a few weeks. Photo Jason Chadwick

Going forward We Are Buxton will be meeting with Derbyshire County Council and presenting the 5,000 strong petition to keep the museum and art gallery in Buxton to leader of the council Barry Lewis.A Derbyshire County Council spokesperson added: “We fully appreciate the museum and art gallery in Buxton is held in very high regard by residents, businesses and visitors to thearea; that passion was clearly displayed at the gathering outside the museum this weekend.“As a council, we share that passion and are continuing to explore every avenue to secure a long-term solution.“The decision to move the museum from Peak Buildings was taken reluctantly, but we have been clear it is no longer viable for us to run the service from that building due to the extensive remedial work that needs to be carried out and the costs attached to this.“We are determined to see the collections displayed locally as soon as possible and plans are currently being developed for a museum service to be offered at alternative locations in the interim period before a long-term solution is secured.“We are liaising with a range of new and existing partners to explore options for the museum and are looking forward to discussions with local groups in the near future, who we hope will work with us in helping secure the very best possible long-term solution.”

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