(R.43) The Crystal Palace Foundation's media releases and news items on the proposed Crystal Palace Museum Closure - September/October 2000
7 September 2000 - Address to Bromley's
Leisure and Community Services Committee
Media Release, 11 September 2000 - Crystal Palace Foundation snubbed in Bromley's secret Museum deal
Media Release, 25 September 2000 - Ken's Museum closed by Bromley
The Crystal Palace Foundation NEWS October 2000 - EMERGENCY NEWSLETTER
London Borough of Bromley - 7 September 2000, AGENDA ITEM 11 "Crystal Palace Exhibition"
84, Anerley Road, Crystal Palace, London SE19 2AH.
Honorary President His Grace the Duke of Devonshire
Registered Charity No. 285563
7 September 2000
Address to Bromley's Leisure and Community Services Committee
Is the Committee aware that the Crystal Palace Foundation, a registered charity separate from the Crystal Palace Museum, was initially responsible for the founding of the Crystal Palace Museum, and that many items in the Museum collection and archives were originally donated to the Foundation and subsequently loaned to the Museum?
Is the Committee also aware that the Crystal Palace Foundation runs a shop within the Crystal Palace Museum and that both the shop and the Museum are now, and have always been, entirely staffed by Crystal Palace Foundation volunteers?
Is the Committee further aware that the shop profits provide the main source of income of the Foundation and until recently of the Museum itself.
The Crystal Palace Foundation has worked closely with Bromley Council on previous ventures including various exhibitions and were partners in "Restoring the Vision", the blue print for the regeneration of Crystal Palace Park.
For all these reasons the Crystal Palace Foundation is of the opinion that it must have equal representation on the proposed working party which is considering the scheme for the temporary relocation and the future refurbishment of the Museum.
Why has the Crystal Palace Foundation not been included in the proposed working party and can the Committee assure us tonight that this omission will be rectified immediately?
Trustee, Crystal Palace Foundation
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Media Release, 11 September 2000
Crystal Palace Foundation snubbed in Bromley's secret Museum deal
At the 7th September meeting of Bromley's Leisure and Community Services Committee, Trustees of the Crystal Palace Foundation (CPF), the 450-member, 21-year old registered charity which created the Crystal Palace Museum, were shocked to learn that Bromley officers have been secretly working with the three Museum trustees on plans to close the Museum.
The closure has been forced by the developer's plans to construct a tunnel entrance off Anerley Hill leading traffic to the controversial multiplex-linked leisure operation on the top site of Crystal Palace Park. Bromley is proposing a £150,000 temporary exhibition designed to last for anything up to a year. This will be largely funded from public sources with an, as yet, undecided contribution being provided by the developer, London & Regional Properties Ltd. On this annual basis the weekly cost will be a staggering £3,000 plus any additional costs incurred with staffing, security and other expenses. If however it was only required for a three-month period the cost would rise to £12,500 per week. Again the Foundation has not been invited to participate in any discussions relating to this proposal.
The chair of Bromley's committee, Councillor Chris Gaster, himself a CPF member, condescendingly thanked the Foundation for their efforts over the years but made it clear that they would play no part in the working group convened to consider the scheme of closure and the proposed temporary exhibition.
The Museum and its shop has been manned and run by Foundation volunteers Sundays and Bank Holidays for over ten years and has provided the money necessary to keep the Museum alive. This funding will now have to be provided by Bromley together with other possible public monies. The closure will also deprive the Foundation of a vital source of revenue for its educational and other activities.
The Crystal Palace Foundation Chairman, Melvyn Harrison, said "We are outraged by this further demonstration by Bromley Council that they prefer secret deals with unaccountable and unrepresentative bodies rather than embark upon genuine consultation. I would remind Bromley of their own Undertaking to the House of Commons Select Committee, relating to the 1990 Crystal Palace Act. This requires them to consult with the Foundation on any matter pertaining to any development on the top site that, requires the inclusion of exhibition space connected to the history of the Palace and the Park."
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Media Release, 25 September 2000
Ken's Museum closed by Bromley
The Museum that the GLC under Ken Livingstone's leadership helped the Crystal Palace Foundation establish in 1988, is to be closed by Bromley Council. Bromley's failure to consult with the Foundation is contrary to its own Undertaking to Parliament. This states that the Foundation must be consulted on any matters pertaining to any development on the top site that requires "the provision of exhibition space connected to the history of the Palace and the Park".
Bromley have not consulted with the registered charity, specifically formed to maintain and preserve the history and issues of the Crystal Palace. Only by chance did the 450-member, 21 year old, Foundation learn that the Museum, funded and voluntarily staffed by the Foundation since its inception, is to be Closed by Bromley Council. Bromley wants to relocate the Museum in a temporary £150,000 building behind the new bus terminus while construction work begins on the tunnel -from Anerley Hill to the roof top car park of the proposed 20-screen cinema multiplex with its 12 pubs and restaurants. Bromley suggests the new development will be a 'fitting' replacement for Paxton's original masterpiece that was designed to educate and enlighten.
The Foundation Chairman, MeIvyn Harrison said, "the Foundation is taking legal advice on Bromley's possible parliamentary contempt and other issues relating to the Museum's status".
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CRYSTAL PALACE MUSEUM TO CLOSE
The Crystal Palace Museum looks set to close for up to a year. This will be due to the construction of the tunnel, which will form part of a new access road from Anerley Hill to the proposed leisure complex on the former Crystal Palace site. During the period of closure, Bromley Council aims to establish a new exhibition in a temporary building.
Incredibly, the Crystal Palace Foundation was neither informed nor consulted by Bromley about their plans. This is despite a parliamentary 'undertaking' in the 1990 Crystal Palace Act which states "Exhibition Space - In consultation with the Crystal Palace foundation the Council shall require that any development of the relevant 1w& carried out pursuant to the provisions of this Bill shall include provision of exhibition space on the history of the Palace and park". Additionally, the Foundation played a major participatory role in the 'Restoring the Vision' document that bears our logo and name as a local partner. We are in the process of obtaining legal advice on this and other issues.
A 'working party' is to be established by Bromley to supervise the scheme. This will comprise officers involved in Bromley's Crystal Palace development, the Bromley Museum and representatives from the Trustees of the Crystal Palace Museum. There will be no room at
the table for the CPF In fact, it seems likely we will be denied any opportunity to continue our work within the new temporary exhibition. This inevitably will reflect on the sales of our products and services, seriously affecting our financial viability. Likewise there are no guarantees as to our place within the 'restored' Museum. Could it be that our exclusion from the working group is the result of the Foundation's concerns over the top site development?
Leisure & Community Services Meeting
The CPF first learned of the, Museum closure plan on 2nd September last, when the calling notice was issued for a meeting of Bromley's Leisure & Community Services (L&CS) committee. The meeting took place on 7th September and was attended by CPF Trustees, including Ken Lewington. Ken addressed the meeting with a prepared six-part statement, and asked Bromley to include
the CPF in the working party for the temporary exhibition. The chair of Bromley's committee, Councillor Chris Gaster ~self a CPF member), thanked the Foundation for our efforts over the years but made it clear that we will play no part in the working party convened to consider the scheme of closure and the temporary exhibition.
CPF chairman, Melvyn Harrison, said 'We are outraged by this further demonstration by Bromley Council that they prefer secret deals with unaccountable and unrepresentative bodies rather than embark upon genuine consultation. I would remind Bromley of their own Undertaking to the House of Commons Select Committee, relating to the 1990 Crystal Palace Act.
The CPF is therefore at a critical juncture and our response to this snub may determine our future direction.
The CPF is left with the following options:
The committee is unanimous in rejecting option 1, preferring to pursue option 2. We are making every effort to have Bromley reverse their decision and include us in the working party. If we fail we may be forced to pursue option 3, subject to the agreement of a majority of our members. This would involve securing our own premises and creating a new exhibition and shop facility.
Initial discussions with potential sponsors, one a household name, have shown us that this is a viable option. We would take no pleasure in severing our link with the Crystal Palace Museum, after all it was the CPF who created it.
The Museum and shop have been manned and run by CPF volunteers on Sundays and Bank Holidays for more than 10 years, with shop receipts providing the money necessary to keep the Museum open. Earlier this year we had to reduce the level of funding as our own income has declined in recent years, but we continue to provide all the volunteers which make the Museum's operation possible.
The Museum closure, scheduled for 2001 - 2002, could scarcely have come at a worse time, as it will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Great Exhibition. There will be a great deal of interest in Crystal Palace next year, with a number of special TV and radio programmes planned by the major broadcasters. We had anticipated a large increase in the number of visitors to the Museum with a commensurate increase in shop sales. With the CPF effectively 'homeless' during the period of closure, our income is likely to be severely diminished. This will further limit our ability to support the Museum, publish periodicals and undertake educational activities.
We should point out that Bromley also intend to refurbish the Museum building during its closure to the public. We have no details about the extent of refurbishment, but we do welcome any improvement to the building as it is in desperate need of attention.
Many people still believe that the Crystal Palace Museum is run by the CPF. The CPF certainly founded the Museum, but professional advice received at the time indicated that it would be better to have the Museum run by a separate Trust, with the CPF continuing its traditional activities (events, publications, education, restoration work etc.). The belief was that having a separate Museum Trust would facilitate the securing of sponsorship and business partnerships to a greater degree than has actually happened.
The CPF became the main supporter of the Museum both financially and with provision of volunteer staff.
A separate Trust was created and the CPF's Barrie McKay
and Ken Kiss, together with Adrian Frisby, became Museum
Trustees. With separate Trusts, relations between the CPF
and the Museum became more distant. The CPF had little
influence on Museum policy, displays and exhibitions. For
many CPF committee members having virtually no say in the
running of the Museum was a major source of dissatisfaction.
The creation of the Museum Development Group, consisting of
both Museum and CPF Trustees, was an attempt to remedy the
situation but it has met with limited success.
Main Aim for the Temporary Exhibition
Bromley's main aim for the temporary exhibition is made clear in the minutes from the 7th September meeting. While there is a welcome statement about marking the 150th anniversary of the Crystal Palace, there are three key statements which show that the Council will use the exhibition to try and gain support for their widely criticised Crystal Palace development. They are:
* Link the design concept of the first Palace to the new Palace, a Crystal Palace for the 21 st Century
* Illustrate the ongoing progress with the construction of the new Crystal Palace and compare this with the work on the original Palace
* Display material on the 'Restoring the Vision' projects within Crystal Palace Park
What You Can Do
As we attempt to resolve the present unsatisfactory situation there is something practical that you can do to help. Please write to Barry Walkinshaw at Bromley Council, expressing your outrage at the Crystal Palace Foundation's exclusion from the Museum closure and temporary exhibition scheme. Explain that while you welcome refurbishment of the Museum building, you believe Bromley should comply with the 'Undertaking' in the Crystal Palace Act of 1990 and invite the CPF to join the working party set up to supervise the Museum closure and the temporary exhibition. You could also put forward ideas for the temporary exhibition displays.
The address to write to is:
Mr B Walkinshaw, Chief Librarian
Please copy your letter to:
Melvyn Harrison (CPF chairman)
You may also like to copy your letter to:
Mr Barrie McKay
If each CPF member were to recruit just one new member then we would double our membership overnight.
We need your thoughts and ideas on this critical issue
Please write today - don't leave it to someone else!
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AGENDA ITEM 11 "Crystal Palace Exhibition" - page with original Bromley Leisure & Community Services Meeting item discussing Museum closure etc.
26/11/00 Last updated 26/11/00;2/12/00;13/5/01-lines fixed