Hundreds sign petition to save Sunderland museum from being mothballed

A petition to secure the future of a landmark Sunderland museum has already gathered hundreds of signatures.

Tuesday, 23rd February 2016, 5:00 am
Monkwearmouth Station, Sunderland.

The Echo reported last week how city councillors are considering closing or temporarily closing Grade II-listed Monkwearmouth Station Museum.

The creation of the former railway station was commissioned by the “Railway King” George Hudson, designed by leading architect Thomas Moore and opened on June 19, 1848.

Stuart Miller

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It closed to travellers in 1967 and all railway use ended in 1970.

Sunderland Corporation stepped in to save the building from dereliction and it was re-opened as a museum by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1973.

Portfolio holder for culture, Councillor John Kelly, has said that Government budget cuts and falling visitor numbers could mean that the site may have to close.

Now, a petition to keep the museum open has been created on the website and has already gathered more than 550 signatures.

Stuart Miller

It reads: “This museum is a great attraction in Sunderland to visit for everyone and a great day out for families.

“Ideally located it includes so much heritage from the local transport.

“The railway carriage and station themselves have so much history to them.

“Please don’t close this great attraction! We don’t want a temporary closure either!”

The Friends of Sunderland Museums has already expressed its anger about the possible closure and argued it could affect Sunderland’s bid to be City of Culture in 2021. Also calling for any closure plans to be reversed is Stuart Miller, of Sunderland Heritage Forum.

Mr Miller said: “I was quite astounded by this when it was announced last week, as there was a substantial review into museums in Sunderland last year and the closure of Monkwearmouth Station was never mentioned.

“This is one of Sunderland’s finest pieces of architecture and the city would be closing down one of the major landmarks in the area.

“We wouldn’t close down St Peter’s Monastery would we?

“A large amount of money is going towards the old fire station in the city centre and Hylton Castle. Monkwearmouth Station should be seen in the context of those investments.”