‘Museum closure may hit Sunderland’s City of Culture 2021 bid,’ claim campaigners

Liberal Democrat campaigner Niall Hodson outside Monkwearmouth Station Museum.
Liberal Democrat campaigner Niall Hodson outside Monkwearmouth Station Museum.
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Campaigners say that the potential closure of a historic Wearside transport museum could affect Sunderland’s bid to be named City of Culture in 2021.

The Echo revealed yesterday that councillors are considering closing Monkwearmouth Station Museum, in North Bridge Street, as a temporary measure.

“Going to the Station Museum is a part of what it means to grow up in Sunderland - it would be a real shame if we denied this opportunity to future generations.”

Niall Hodson

Councillor John Kelly said there had been a “steady decline in visitors numbers” to the site in recent years.

However, today, Liberal Democrat campaigners on Wearside are calling on Sunderland City Council to protect the site from closure.

The comments come after the Friends of Sunderland Museums also condemned the news.

Lib Dem Niall Hodson, himself a curator and cultural historian, said: “Going to the Station Museum is a part of what it means to grow up in Sunderland – it would be a real shame if we denied this opportunity to future generations.

“There is a terrible, but typical irony about Sunderland Council’s actions.

“On the one hand they announce large-scale cultural projects like the Keel Square redevelopment and a bid for City of Culture, and on the other hand, they seek to close our existing heritage sites.

“What Sunderland Council don’t understand is that culture is not about big-money projects, it’s about preserving our existing local cultural heritage, and keeping it alive, accessible, and relevant.

“It is a matter of unglamorous, but uncostly, responsible management in the long term, and I’m afraid they just don’t have a clue.”

Formerly a railway station, the attraction closed to travellers in 1967 and all railway use ended in 1970.