NRM closure fight steps up a gear

York Press: Protesters outside the NRM Protesters outside the NRM

THE campaign to save the National Railway Museum from risk of closure was stepped up a gear with nearly 100 people gathering for a banner-waving protest outside the York attraction.

Local residents and railway enthusiasts from all over the country attended the rally to protest at moves by the Science Museum’s Group to close one of its three museums in York, Bradford, or Manchester.

It came as hundreds of people continue to sign the Press’s Save The NRM petition which has now topped 7,000 names – thanks to petitions containing 600 names from Tesco at Clifton Moor.

Saturday’s gathering sent a message that the York attraction was a national gem and any attempt to close it would rob the city and the entire country of its heritage as well as a source of inspiration to future generations wanting to work in the rail industry.

York council leader James Alexander warned the museum was one of those which was vital to Britain’s future as a manufacturing nation.

He said: “This is not about York vs Bradford. It is about all the museums. We need as a country to be seen to be producing things – not just relying on financial service industries.

"The museum gets just under a million visitors a year. It is very significant for the York economy and part of our heritage. The museum inspires the interest of those who will be involved in science and technology in the future, so I am pleased to see so many here protesting.”

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At the head of the crowd was David Gibson, who was inspired to open his rail transport business in Coventry by childhood visits to the NRM with his father.

He said: “My dad used to take me to the Science Museum in London and the NRM. He passed his enthusiasm for railways on to me. The exhibits brought it all alive for me as a boy.

“Just when the rail industry is becoming more dynamic we are talking about the possible closure of this museum. It would be a great shame and I just hope it doesn’t happen.”

He underlined his own fledgling business, Railfast Intermodal, would not exist without the NRM. “I would never have started it if I had not been inspired as a kid by museums like this,” he said.

York Central MP Hugh Bayley said: “With just two days notice we have got dozens of people turning out to say: ‘Do not close the museum.’ “We will carry on bringing the campaign forward and it will grow and grow until the Government give us the answer we want – sufficient funding to protect this museum and all the museums in the Science Museum’s Group.”

• CITY of York Council has teamed up with Bradford and Manchester councils to deliver an open letter to the trustees of the Science Museum’s Group which is published today.

The letter states: “It would be unthinkable even to consider closing national museums, like the Victoria and Albert or the National History Museum, in London. Why then does it appear to be acceptable to discuss potential closures of national museums in Northern cities?

“The economic and cultural impact of closing a national science museum in Bradford, York or Manchester would be much more devastating in any one of these cities, than closing a London museum would be on the capital’s or indeed the nation’s economy.”

Comments (12)

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10:37am Mon 17 Jun 13

DifficultTim says...

Small turnout. But it's good to see people care.

And if you do care, the best way to help the National Railway Museum is to join the Friends of the NRM. Not only is that providing the museum with real support, but it also means you don't have to worry about future admissions charges (and that is what this is really about - there is next to no chance of the NRM closing).
Small turnout. But it's good to see people care. And if you do care, the best way to help the National Railway Museum is to join the Friends of the NRM. Not only is that providing the museum with real support, but it also means you don't have to worry about future admissions charges (and that is what this is really about - there is next to no chance of the NRM closing). DifficultTim
  • Score: 0

10:42am Mon 17 Jun 13

mallory says...

"The museum gets just under a million visitors a year."

actually 716,000 in 2012 - http://alva.org.uk/d
etails.cfm?p=423

is 716,000 "just under a million"?

when he says we need 22,000 homes, is that 16,000 homes 'rounded up'?
"The museum gets just under a million visitors a year." actually 716,000 in 2012 - http://alva.org.uk/d etails.cfm?p=423 is 716,000 "just under a million"? when he says we need 22,000 homes, is that 16,000 homes 'rounded up'? mallory
  • Score: 0

10:53am Mon 17 Jun 13

Lunatic says...

I attended. We can;t afford to underestimate the cultural, historical and economic value of this museum - of any of our science museums.

The only reason they're under threat is because Lotto Heritage money was diverted to the Olympics. We need to send a strong message that we're not going to lose out just because the government is London first!
I attended. We can;t afford to underestimate the cultural, historical and economic value of this museum - of any of our science museums. The only reason they're under threat is because Lotto Heritage money was diverted to the Olympics. We need to send a strong message that we're not going to lose out just because the government is London first! Lunatic
  • Score: 0

12:09pm Mon 17 Jun 13

Zetkin says...

I'm afraid that the headline "fight steps up a gear" doesn't convey the reality of the situation when an impressive 7000 signatures have been gathered in a week, but fewer than 100 people attend the protest. It might even appear to the casual observer that the fight was actually winding down.

Of course the disappointing turnout doesn't mean people don't care, or that they're not willing to fight, but it does make you wonder if those leading the campaign know what they're doing.

We often see much bigger protests about much smaller issues - because the people organising them know what they're doing.

Get some of them involved, and make the next protest a march through the streets, from Clifford's Tower to the NRM via the Minster. The image of several hundred people marching over (pedestrianised) Lendal Bridge with the Minster in the background would be a gift to photo editors in every newsroom in the country.

Or synchronised protests with the other threatened museums?

Or a joint 3 museums demo in London?

Once you start thinking about it, you can come up with any number of ideas that are better than 3 men, a dog, and some scouts listening to James Alexander, Hugh Bayley, and a vicar droning on.
I'm afraid that the headline "fight steps up a gear" doesn't convey the reality of the situation when an impressive 7000 signatures have been gathered in a week, but fewer than 100 people attend the protest. It might even appear to the casual observer that the fight was actually winding down. Of course the disappointing turnout doesn't mean people don't care, or that they're not willing to fight, but it does make you wonder if those leading the campaign know what they're doing. We often see much bigger protests about much smaller issues - because the people organising them know what they're doing. Get some of them involved, and make the next protest a march through the streets, from Clifford's Tower to the NRM via the Minster. The image of several hundred people marching over (pedestrianised) Lendal Bridge with the Minster in the background would be a gift to photo editors in every newsroom in the country. Or synchronised protests with the other threatened museums? Or a joint 3 museums demo in London? Once you start thinking about it, you can come up with any number of ideas that are better than 3 men, a dog, and some scouts listening to James Alexander, Hugh Bayley, and a vicar droning on. Zetkin
  • Score: 0

12:43pm Mon 17 Jun 13

york153 says...

I cannot honestly believe that this is the position the NRM is facing. The NRM is the only institution of its kind, and one enjoyed, adored and beholden by millions. This really is as important as any other museum in the UK, IWM, Victoria & Albert, etc
It is time this sorry situation was sorted out quickly to safeguard the long term future - I cant even believe it is under threat in the first place. If they need to reintroduce admission charges then they should be allowed to do it - I have no objection paying, well worth it in my opinion.
I cannot honestly believe that this is the position the NRM is facing. The NRM is the only institution of its kind, and one enjoyed, adored and beholden by millions. This really is as important as any other museum in the UK, IWM, Victoria & Albert, etc It is time this sorry situation was sorted out quickly to safeguard the long term future - I cant even believe it is under threat in the first place. If they need to reintroduce admission charges then they should be allowed to do it - I have no objection paying, well worth it in my opinion. york153
  • Score: 0

3:41pm Mon 17 Jun 13

bagnall1928@yahoo.com says...

York has been a good mainline railway centre with its Station giving access to many train services in the country.
the Carriage Works provided hundreds of jobs too.
Many people worked on the railway itself and Leeman Rd gave homes to many of them.
Don't take away jobs at a time like this, ..
York has been a good mainline railway centre with its Station giving access to many train services in the country. the Carriage Works provided hundreds of jobs too. Many people worked on the railway itself and Leeman Rd gave homes to many of them. Don't take away jobs at a time like this, .. bagnall1928@yahoo.com
  • Score: 0

3:42pm Mon 17 Jun 13

MrsHoney says...

york153 wrote:
I cannot honestly believe that this is the position the NRM is facing. The NRM is the only institution of its kind, and one enjoyed, adored and beholden by millions. This really is as important as any other museum in the UK, IWM, Victoria & Albert, etc
It is time this sorry situation was sorted out quickly to safeguard the long term future - I cant even believe it is under threat in the first place. If they need to reintroduce admission charges then they should be allowed to do it - I have no objection paying, well worth it in my opinion.
I quite agree, it seems completely ridiculous to even entertain the idea that it would close. You couldn't imagine the V&A closing could you? Why does everything have to be in London, don't they have enough to attract tourists with all their theatres etc anyway? The 3 science museums under threat are all valuable to their respective cities. The whole thing seems insane!
[quote][p][bold]york153[/bold] wrote: I cannot honestly believe that this is the position the NRM is facing. The NRM is the only institution of its kind, and one enjoyed, adored and beholden by millions. This really is as important as any other museum in the UK, IWM, Victoria & Albert, etc It is time this sorry situation was sorted out quickly to safeguard the long term future - I cant even believe it is under threat in the first place. If they need to reintroduce admission charges then they should be allowed to do it - I have no objection paying, well worth it in my opinion.[/p][/quote]I quite agree, it seems completely ridiculous to even entertain the idea that it would close. You couldn't imagine the V&A closing could you? Why does everything have to be in London, don't they have enough to attract tourists with all their theatres etc anyway? The 3 science museums under threat are all valuable to their respective cities. The whole thing seems insane! MrsHoney
  • Score: 0

7:46pm Mon 17 Jun 13

jumbojet says...

What are the figures? How much money does the Museum get through per. day/week/annum? Lets have some numbers, then we can go to companies and ask for a few quid, no one seems to know what the shortfall is. Do we lock the doors and let everything rust away, or do we get a few paid staff to cover the basic positions and then keep the system going with volunteers, all with an oil can and rag in hand. The Museum will not close if some common sense is utilised, and the whole thing is opened up to the public,and all the facts are spelt out in simple terminology, we don't need experts to look after the museum, their are enough 'train' people interested in keeping this building open, just give us some numbers.
What are the figures? How much money does the Museum get through per. day/week/annum? Lets have some numbers, then we can go to companies and ask for a few quid, no one seems to know what the shortfall is. Do we lock the doors and let everything rust away, or do we get a few paid staff to cover the basic positions and then keep the system going with volunteers, all with an oil can and rag in hand. The Museum will not close if some common sense is utilised, and the whole thing is opened up to the public,and all the facts are spelt out in simple terminology, we don't need experts to look after the museum, their are enough 'train' people interested in keeping this building open, just give us some numbers. jumbojet
  • Score: 0

9:21pm Mon 17 Jun 13

big boy york says...

hear the museum in bradfords deffinatly not closing so its us or manchester
hear the museum in bradfords deffinatly not closing so its us or manchester big boy york
  • Score: 0

4:07am Tue 18 Jun 13

Magicman! says...

If you watch the BBC local news, they only seem to be interested in Bradford....
If you watch the BBC local news, they only seem to be interested in Bradford.... Magicman!
  • Score: 0

9:29am Tue 18 Jun 13

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

Magicman! wrote:
If you watch the BBC local news, they only seem to be interested in Bradford....
That's because it's the BBC and the BBC is Media... and the Media Museum is stuffed with BBC memorabilia. It's called 'self-interest'. Something the BBC does particularly well.
[quote][p][bold]Magicman![/bold] wrote: If you watch the BBC local news, they only seem to be interested in Bradford....[/p][/quote]That's because it's the BBC and the BBC is Media... and the Media Museum is stuffed with BBC memorabilia. It's called 'self-interest'. Something the BBC does particularly well. Ignatius Lumpopo
  • Score: 0

9:44am Tue 18 Jun 13

Jiffy says...

The NRM will not close!
The NRM will not close! Jiffy
  • Score: 0

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