Say No to Admission Charge
Stoke-on-Trent City Council hopes to raise £73,000 by introducing an admission charge at the city's museum. Claiming that it can no longer afford the annual cost of keeping the museum open the council intends to scrap the principle that museums should be free for all.
Supporters of the museum engaged in a campaign to raise enough money to avoid the introduction of the charge have collected £5,000 but this will not be enough. Unless more can be raised the council will introduce the £2.50 fee on June 5.
For many people, in what is frequently described as one of the most economically deprived areas in the country, this could prove to be the date the museum ceases to be a significant factor in the cultural life of the city.
This would be a great shame because the museum's collection is part of our heritage. Charging visitors to view the world class display of ceramics - which, let's not forget, was designed and produced by our ancestors- would be like introducing a levy on the family silver.
The new council, a Labour Council to paraphrase Neil Kinnock, must look into this proposal urgently. Excluding anyone from culture on economic grounds is not only unfair it is unacceptable in a civilised society.
Perhaps they should take note of the words of William Morris who said he didn't want art for a few anymore than he wanted education for a few or freedom for a few. But then William Morris was a man of principle.