Experts lament forced sale of Wedgwood Museum
Roadshow expert Hilary Kay joins UNESCO in condemning decision that threatens a 'national treasure'
The Antiques Roadshow’s Wedgwood expert Hilary Kay has joined UNESCO’s David Dawson in denouncing the High Court ruling forcing the closure and sale of the Wedgwood Museum.
'The Wedgwood Museum is a national treasure and ways should be found to ensure that it is saved for the nation,' says Hilary, who is pictured at the museum's opening in 2008.
Waterford Wedgwood Potteries, which owns the museum in Stoke-on-Trent, went bust in 2009 leaving a debt of £134m. The High Court has recently ruled that the collection of items in the Wedgwood Museum is an asset that must be sold to pay some of the outstanding sum.
David Dawson of UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) originally listed the museum on the body’s Memory of the World Register.
Speaking to The Guardian in reaction to the High Court’s ruling he said: 'The nation cannot afford the loss of this piece of its heritage. [The Wedgwood collection] was selected as one of just 20 items on the register, along with objects such as the Bill of Rights and a copy of King Charles I’s death warrant.'
Hilary, who chose Wedgwood as her specialist subject when she appeared on Mastermind, also highlighted the significance of the museum’s collection.
'To me, the history of Wedgwood mirrors the history of British commerce and the importance of the museum extends beyond the Wedgwood wares themselves,' she says. 'Objects, documents and fine art chart the birth of the Industrial Revolution, the history of experimentation, of British inventiveness, of foresight, of dogged determination against the odds and the creation of objects of extraordinary power and enduring appeal.
'The plight of the Wedgwood museum is heartbreaking. The museum is unique; it is one of the last great collections from Britain’s manufacturing heritage that remains intact.'
Images courtesy of the Wedgwood Museum