Thursday, July 02, 2009

Museum Piece

News flashes over my Yahoo! chat that our splendid Maritime Museum is to re-open this weekend. Caff-crushing, car-crushing Councillor Green, the new Mayor of Ramsgate, writes:

I don’t want to be prematurely optimistic, but it looks as though Thanet Council have finally realised what an enormous and unnecessary 'own goal' the closure of the Ramsgate Maritime Museum has been.

Since the closure, Ramsgate and Broadstairs residents have, through the petition organised by Ramsgate Councillors, and through letters and phone calls, let the Council know what they think of the decision. The Council have been fortunate that the Preston Steam Trust have been able to pick up where the EKMT have failed, and promise a future for the museum. This seems to have triggered the 'save our museums' campaign in the Gazette Newspaper.


Hurrah! It's most excellent news that the museum will now be open for the summer season, which kicks off here in the Millionaires' Playground with Ramsgate Rocks this weekend. In fact I'm off to polish up my beer goggles right now!

Update: Museum re-opening confirmed. Doors open from Saturday 4 July. See comments on this item for details.

Full story on Cllr Green's blog

8 comments:

Richard Card said...

How was the quarter million Butler legacy issue reolved ECR ? (You may recall I phoned the Charity Commission to find that all of Thanet had overlooked to tell them about the legacy)

Was it a legacy bound to the provision in perpetuity of a maritime museum service in Thanet ?

I am no lawyer but I was wondering if that would mean the new museum we are being optimistic about has a right to a considerable sum in its kitty.

Anonymous said...

they'll just open it this weekend as one off you watch

Richard Card said...

What happened to the Butler legacy money ?

Perhaps former EKMT trustees (who carried unlimited personal liability re the deterioration of the Cervia)would tell us ? Eh Cllr William Hayton.

It may be the case that the former Trustees would be judged still personally liable to pay the sum of the Butler Legacy to a new body providing a maritime museum service in Thanet.

It seems that whilst the body concerned, in running a museum, is Preston Steam Museum (the owners of Cervia) that the settlements have all been agreed at an alterbnative dispute resolution hearing at which (in spite of my efforts) the Charity Commission did not have tome to arrange representation (having not been notified by the parties of the hearing perhaps ?)

It seems to me that if Preston Steam Museum picked up the Butler legacy it cannot be used other than to fund a Thanet museum service.

IE There should be funds avaiolable for more than one weekend.

Write to Bill Hayton people. A man with his histiory of public service will be anxious to clarify any matter that makes it look like a long history of self service eh ?

Richard Card said...

If, for example, the new Mayor and Town Council of Ramsgate were to say we will set up a volunteer manned museum service ?

I think they would then be able to start charging fees to the Preston Steam Museum for any parking fees maritime. And start sending bills totalling £267,000 jointly and severally to the former EKMT trustees and the Preston Steam Museum.

Anonymous said...

It's great that the museum is reopening but did the council offer anyone else other than the Preston steam people these easy, rent-free terms? I'm sure there would have been takers.

Richard Card said...

You hit the nail on the head.

What appears to have happened anon.

(1) in 2003 or so the long serving director of the EKMT resigned and found work with the Steam Museum Trust (Preston Steam Museum)

(2) When three years had expired (during which EKMT failed to file annual accounts with the Charity Commission) the Steam Museum Trust began making noises at the Trustees of the EKMT (Cllr Bill Hayton and gang)

(3) At issue was the deterioration of the steam tug Cervia whilst in the custodianship of EKMT on long term loan from its owners the Steam Museum Trust.

(4) My understanding of law is that if EKMT had responded by attributing a degree of blame on tehir former employed director he would have mentioned that three years limitation to sue him for negligence would have expired. he would also have mentioned that the last accounts EKMT submitted to Charity Commission spoke in glowing terms of his long service.

(5)During the three years when EKMT failed to submit their accounts annually, as a charity to the Charity Commission, they appear to have received a legacy of about £267,000 from the Butler will.

(6) Now what I suspect happened is that the £267,000 was part of a deal struck between TDC, EKMT and the Preston Steam Museum ... IE That it may in fact have been used as a sum of money to appease the Preston Steam museum over Cervia and for them, quid pro quo, not to take action to recover Cervia damages (millions) from the Trustees (CClr Bill hayton and gang)

(7) It seems to me that somewhere in these shady dealings, in which it appears TDC solicitors helped TDC tory cllr trustees of the EKMT escape individual litigation for huge damages, £267,000 in trust to provide a maritime museum service in Thanet has not been availed to that purpose.

(8) It is possible that a crime was committed. To determine that we would have to know the terms of the Butler will and how the three parties (TDC, EKMT trustees and Preston Steam Museum)maintained the trust ... by which £267,000 should now be backing the provision of a maritime museum service.

Richard Card said...

PS The Charity Commission already had the EKMT subject of inquiry before the deals were struck with Steam Museum Trust.

Gavin Steele (via Facebook) said...

Museum Reopening.

At the last minute and with every expense spared (of course) the museum will be reopening for the summer season, starting tomorrow (Saturday 04th July) to coincide with Ramsgate Rocks in the Pier Yard. Some of you may already know that this is occurring, since it has appeared in the net already, but I can tell you that it was NOT certain until around four o'clock today.

I shall be running the museum for this period and anyone interested in volunteering to help is advised to drop by over the weekend, phone the museum (not Monday or Tuesday preferably) or message me through this Cause. I hope that even those of you who can't help out by volunteering will try and put in an appearance this weekend just to justify the reopening to those in charge.

Opening hours are subject to alteration but will start out as 10am till 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday.

Thanks to everyone for the support they've given, which has undoubtedly helped to bring this re-opening about, and I apologise for not giving you a heads-up sooner but this has only been arranged over the last few days.

Gavin