Will the Wedgwood Museum Survive?

Posted in on site, the 18th century in the news by Editor on September 4, 2010

As reported by Martin Bailey in The Art Newspaper (18 August 2010) . . .

An 18th-century wooden block mould, © Wedgwood Museum

A fundraising campaign may be launched to save the Wedgwood Museum outside Stoke on Trent, if courts rule that its collection can be sold to pay the pensions liability of the Waterford Wedgwood company, which went into administration in January 2009.

Through a legal quirk, the Wedgwood Pension Fund trustees, who face a deficit of £134m for employees, may be able to claim against the museum. The museum had only six staff in the scheme, whose pension interest represented £60,000, but it could be liable for all of the fund’s 7,000 claimants.

Because of the pensions issue, the Wedgwood Museum Trust was itself put under administration in January, and it is temporarily run by insolvency practitioner Begbies Traynor. The next stage is for the courts to decide whether the museum’s assets could be seized. This is a complex legal matter and is likely to require a detailed hearing to resolve this autumn. In the meantime, the museum remains open to visitors, as normal.. . . .

The full story can be found here»

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Back in July, Lucy Ingliss provided a thoughtful response to the uncertain future of the Wedgwood Museum at Georgian London. Ironically, the Wedgwood Museum was awarded the Art Fund Prize in 2009, just after the completion of an extensive construction project. As noted on the museum’s website:

It’s official! The Wedgwood Museum is Britain’s best museum. The news that the independent Stoke on Trent museum has won the £100,000 Art Fund Prize 2009  – the UK’s largest single arts prize – was announced last night (18 June) at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. The Art Fund Prize honours the most imaginative and original museum or gallery of the year and is a huge accolade for the museum, which only opened last October after the charitable Wedgwood Museum Trust spent nearly a decade raising funds to build it. . .

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