TV duo call for world class glass museum

TV's Andy McConnell with Dudley Council leader - Cllr Anne Millward

TV's Andy McConnell with Dudley Council leader - Cllr Anne Millward

First published in News Stourbridge News: Photograph of the Author by

TV glass experts came face to face with Dudley’s leader to urge her to back their call for a world class museum.

Andy McConnell and Eric Knowles from the Antiques Roadshow met with council leader cllr Anne Millward to discuss their hopes for the future of the borough’s glass collection and their concern over plans to close Kingswinford’s Broadfield House Glass Museum.

Held at Broadfield House on September 17 - the meeting marked the first time cllr Millward had met some of the famous names backing the Save Our Glass Heritage campaign to save the highly-regarded museum, which she controversially once branded a ‘pet project’.

Mr McConnell, who previously dubbed cllr Millward the ‘Homer Simpson of culture’ after her outburst, turned up for the summit after a day’s filming in Ironbridge with Roadshow stalwart Mr Knowles.

The TV duo outlined their support for a bigger and better glass museum to be created in the borough and to stress the importance of the glass collection both nationally and internationally.

Mr McConnell, the Roadshow’s glass specialist, said afterwards: “It was great, it felt as though we were singing from the same hymn sheet.

“What we want is the best cost-effective way of presenting and expanding the collection - and we came away with the impression that is actually what they want too.”

The outspoken presenter and glass collector told cllr Millward many glass associations and societies across the country would be willing to work together to help to drum up cash and bring the project to fruition.

He added: “Nobody’s going to be able to raise the money in five minutes, but in the glass community there are verbal pledges of contributions up to £1m to help fund something important.”

He also warned that valuable items of glass currently on loan to Broadfield could be reclaimed by private lenders worried about the future of the museum.

Meanwhile - glass fans will be able to find out the latest on the Broadfield House saga at a joint meeting of Brierley Hill and Stourbridge Area Committees at The Brier School, Bromley Lane, Kingswinford, on Tuesday September 29 at 7pm.

Directors from L&R Consulting will present their shortlisted options for the glass collection - all of which indicate a seemingly inevitable move to Wordsley’s Red House Glass Cone.

However - Lye and Wollescote Labour councillor Pete Lowe plans to urge fellow councillors to support a motion to widen the feasibility study; to seek external funding for an improved museum; set up a working party comprising all political groups on the council; engage with glass experts and organisations; and ensure any profits from the possible sale of the Broadfield site be ringfenced for the creation of an alternative glass museum.

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