Save Lancashire's Mill Museums
Lancashire County Council will close Queen Street and Helmshore Mill Museums in April 2016 if we don't act now.
“Goin’ downt’ mill”
Why are mill Museums so important?
Helmshore and Queen Street Mill Museums together are the last working example of Lancashire cotton spinning and weaving in the world. They welcome thousands of local people, school children and tourists each year. They are an absolute cornerstone of Lancashire’s rich industrial heritage, recognised together by Arts Council England through their designated collections scheme.
Helmshore and Queen Street keep alive the otherwise extinct process of cotton spinning and weaving in Lancashire- once the industrial heart of this country. In these museums you can trace the history of weaving and spinning through the displays of spinning wheels and mules and weaving looms. They contain original machines, which are still in working order and demonstrated on a regular basis. They are recognised by Arts Council England in their designated scheme as being of outstanding national importance.
That’s quite intense, I just want to let me hair down (mill workers would tie their hair up to avoid being scalped, the phrase comes from not having to on a rare Sunday off)
These mills are open for our community over school holidays and weekends. They are an excellent family day out to learn together about our heritage. We believe that cutting funding to these museums and losing them forever is a grave mistake that our children and future generations will pay for. The museums host hundreds of school trips each year and engage children with their own history. They give them a sense of their place in the world.
They also allow film crews to capture our heritage. Films like the Kings Speech and the BBC series North and South could not have happened without our mills.
By 1860 there were 2650 cotton mills in Lancashire, employing 440, 000 people and producing half of the world’s cotton.
We now have two left. We cannot afford to lose them.
That Does sound important. Why close them?
It’s because the Council “av not a pot to pee in” (a Lancashire-ism that comes from the use of urine in cloth fulling. We can’t lose this can we?!)
Our museums are now under threat of closure as Lancashire County Council has to save £262M by 2020. This will cost us our history, but also hundreds of people who provide this priceless service will be made redundant and lose their jobs.
This is a completely short sighted view. Of the overall cuts which need to be made, the closure of five Lancashire Museums will achieve only a saving of around £5M in this timeframe. That's only 1.9% of the savings that need to be made. One percent over 5 years is the cost LCC are proposing for us to lose over two hundred years’ of Lancashire's unique Industrial heritage forever.
I’m on tenterhooks now, how can I help? (tenterhooks, on tenterframes, stretch out cloth when it’s drying)
We are asking Councillor Jennifer Mein to reconsider this disastrous decision to cut all funding to museums by April 2016. Whilst we appreciate that the council have offered us the chance to come up with ‘alternative service delivery models including their operation by local communities and interest groups’, achieving this in 5 months is unrealistic.
We want LCC to promise to continue to keep running Helmshore and Queen Street Mills until April 2017 (even at a reduced service) until we can offer a viable business plan and alternative to preserve our unique history.
Sign the petition to keep our mills alive.
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