Group urges people to back plans to bring DLI Museum collection back together

Members of the The Faithful Durhams who are hoping to see the former DLI museum's objects reunited under one roof.
Members of the The Faithful Durhams who are hoping to see the former DLI museum's objects reunited under one roof.

A campaign group calling on the former Durham Light Infantry (DLI) Museum to be restored is urging people to back a proposal to bring its objects back under one roof.

The DLI Museum in Durham City was closed by Durham County Council in March 2016 after a report to the council’s cabinet said the storage of the DLI collection was both expensive and inefficient and the building expensive to maintain.

The former DLI Museum.

The former DLI Museum.

The museum, which commemorated the regiment which recruited from across the region, featured thousands of objects, contained medals and other memorabilia from regimental history.

The former site was also a place where the ashes of former servicemen and women were scattered, alongside memorial benches.

But now a group called The Faithful Durhams is hoping to see the museum’s objects reunited under one roof as the council holds a public consultation to see if the items could be stored at a new site.

The consultation on the council’s website says that the objects could be on display to the public at a proposed history centre at Mount Oswald manor house in Durham City.

The application reads: “The proposals would bring Mount Oswald manor house back into use and create a centre containing a wide range of vital records which document the history and heritage of the people of County Durham into one location.

“The facility would also allow us to think about housing other collections which are of great importance to Durham.

“One of these could be the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) Collection, offering a long-term home for the objects beyond their current five year arrangements.”

Residents have until tomorrow, to have their say and members of The Faithful Durhams are urging the public to show their support.

The group’s secretary Diane Inglis, 53, from Spennymoor, is passionate about the museum, having family members who served in both wars.

She said the cause has attracted a huge amount of support, with 1,800 people joining the group.

She said: “The DlI regiment was a massive regiment and people have a lot of passion for it.
“Our main objective is to get the collection back under one roof.

“We urge people to have their say to get the collection back together.”

Stephen Howell, Durham County Council’s head of culture and sport, said: “The proposed new history centre at Mount Oswald would provide an opportunity to bring together the DLI Collection Research and Study Centre in Spennymoor with the Collection’s archives, which are in the care of Durham County Record Office.

“The history centre could also offer exhibition space to tell the story of Durham’s history, including the DLI, with a programme of exhibitions, activities and events.

“And we could continue taking such an important part of the county’s history and heritage out to communities, ensuring that the DLI story reaches the wide audience it deserves.

“However, the DLI collection is owned by the trustees, not ourselves, and any decision on the future of the collection would be theirs.

“Both ourselves and the trustees believe the History Centre is a fabulous idea, but wish to gather wider thoughts from stakeholders, and the general public.

“The DLI Forum of stakeholders is due to meet on Thursday, February 22, and provide feedback on the proposals, with representatives from trustees, friends of the DLI, DLI Associations, the Durham Faithfuls campaign group and collections managers.”

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