Trust ‘evicted’ from Margate Museum and Tudor House by council in row over artefacts and missing items

Margate Museum Credit Tourism at Thanet council

The Trust managing Margate Museum and the Tudor House has been ordered to vacate the property by Thanet council – resulting in the museum being closed and the locks changed.

Thanet council notified the Margate Museums Trust at the end of April that it had until May 3 to vacate the property. The council says it is now in “the process of reviewing our museums and looking at how they will be run in the long term.”

It has also emerged that “two significant items have been reported missing to the police.” It is understood one of those items is an antique doll.

‘Vacant possession’

Inside Margate Museum (Photo TDC)

A letter sent to the chairman of the Margate Museums Trust by Thanet council said: “As the Trust is aware the existing condition of the Margate Museum and Tudor House is putting valuable and significant collections at risk and investment in the building is necessary.

“We have completed condition surveys of the Margate Museum and Tudor House to understand their condition and requirement for works.

“While the council acknowledges the dedicated team of trustees and volunteers that run the Margate Museum and Tudor House, the opening times are restricted due to the lack of resources available and the Museums are not delivering an offer which is reflective of their prominent location within the town. For such an experience to be delivered significant capital investment is required.

“We are also concerned that despite our contact…further concerns have been raised about the way the artefacts are being managed in the Margate Museum.

“We have also reported that two significant items have been reported missing to the police. This is of grave concern to the council and has led to the expedition of some of our decision making on this matter.

“In order to enable the council to undertake a full review and ensure the buildings and artefacts are safeguarded we are giving the Margate Museum Trust notice that it requires the Trust to give vacant possession of the Margate Museum and Tudor House by Friday 3 May, when the Trust will cease to operate the buildings on that date, keys should be returned and the locks will be changed.”

Police report

Kent Police confirmed a report has been made, saying: “Kent Police was made aware on 26 April 2024 of a potential burglary from premises in Market Square, Margate, after items were confirmed missing during an inventory.”

Tudor House was closed after also becoming victim to a burglary at the beginning of 2023 which resulted in damage to the building.

Margate Museums Trust

The Margate Museums Trust is a charity registered in 2017 as the custodian of an extensive collection of historical artefacts dating back to the Bronze Age on behalf of Thanet District Council. The Trust also organised exhibitions, talks, educational visits and assisted students, bodies and individuals with research.

The Trust previously worked with the Power of Women festival and introduced a reality app for the venues in 2018.

The Trust had made efforts to take on the museum and Tudor House leaseholds under a Community Asset Transfer but this did not come to fruition. In 2022 museum benefactor Andrew Perloff said he would long-term loan articles from his extensive collection to be used as a visitor attraction and an educational tool in a bid to help Margate offer “something unique.” It was part of an offer totalling more than £750,000 to take a lease on Margate’s Old Town Hall, museum, Tudor House and attached units when Thanet council put the Old Town Hall on the market with a long lease of £75,000 per annum. An outcome of that exercise was not made public.

‘Years of free volunteer work’

The Trust has strongly refuted claims of any mismanagement of the buildings and artefacts, saying: “We have been requesting a Community Asset transfer for years now and TDC continued to entrust us to be full guardians of the museum and their artefacts, including the Trust’s own artefacts donated to them by benefactors.

“The Trust just wants to see the museum open and operating for the citizens of Thanet and  in the background we will fight on to clear our good name and character which has been shamefully attacked by Thanet council without recourse to proper discussions or proof of blame.”

‘Sustainable solution’

Margate Museum

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “The Margate Museum is currently not open to visitors. The decision has been taken to pause visitor access in order to audit the museum collection and make arrangements to ensure that all the artefacts held are being properly preserved.

“As custodian on behalf of the residents in Thanet, and as the owner of the building and collections, the council has a duty to do so.

“We are in the process of reviewing our museums and looking at how they will be run in the long term. Our aim is to reach a sustainable solution for both the Margate Museum and the Tudor House, which results in a visitor offer that reflects their prominent town centre location and their unique heritage and cultural value.”

Museum review

Last year Thanet council put out a tender to select and appoint a supplier to carry out a Strategic Review of Thanet’s Museums, with particular focus on Dickens House Museum, Broadstairs, Margate Museum and the Tudor House.

The authority appointed specialist team Haley Sharpe Design with support from Arts Council England.

In January a survey was opened for public views on the future for the museums.

A review of the museums was previously carried out in 2018 with plans to market the sites to be taken over by external organisations.

Millionaire benefactor’s proposal to take on Margate’s Old Town Hall, museum and Tudor House for ‘unique’ visitor attraction

21 Comments

  1. I’m just about running out of fingers to count the number of past tourist attractions in Thanet that have closed down over the 12 years we’ve lived down here. It beggars believe really.. along with all the money spent on ‘reviews’, ‘surveys’, ‘project designs’ and premises bought and sold with no actual work being done on any of iit, let alone the various Government grants allocated with nothing to show for it to either residents or tourists.

  2. Let’s face it KCC, TDC and the government are failing us the public. And if labour get in everything will stay the same. Blame everyone else for there failings, tax everyone in everyway shape and form to recover all the taxes paid and wasted by them, all the while telling us there’s no money. And now hitting charity’s and volunteers for councils own very poor decisions. Selling things off and privatisation is not and will never work just filling the pockets of the rich creaming off the profits.

    • As to Labour racing everyone: under this Tory government, we carry the highest tax burden for generations. Yet public services are on thr verge of collapse.
      So, where has the money gone?

    • We’ve nothing left in Thanet, Winter Gardens, the theatre royal, gone the museum in Ramsgate and now Margate museum. Northdown House slowly decaying.

  3. TDC want the Tudor house and the museum to convert into apartments for the illegal boat people. The contents of the museum will go on eBay I expect.

    • Bill I urge you to have your medication reviewed, your clearly delusional, and may self harm! I mean this in the best possible way, and care about your mental health.

  4. About time the Trustees have been kicked out!… this place has been mismanaged by the Trustees for years. Complacency and ignorance have allowed the archives and pieces to be riddled with mold and decaying. NO conservation work ever takes place. The idiots running the place didn’t want change and resisted any new ideas. The roof was badly leaking and destroying the upper floor. The Trustees obviously had no idea how to write a funding application. They should have got off their backsides and instead of playing with the museum , actually thought about running events and raising funds. This is not TDCs fault…other than they have allowed a bunch of incompetents fanny around with valuable antiquities.

  5. M M Rees, I can confirm that my 6.40 message was sent when the clock said 6.40. My 12 hour shift finished at 6 am watching 16 CCTV screens looking for crooks vagabonds / graffiti vandalism while I expect you are still tucked up in bed.

  6. Dumpton, don’t worry about my mental health it’s yous that needs attention. It’s the same when you went for a massage it was only afterwards that it was noticed that the couch had gone
    missing ?? When you were asked “ did you want an happy ending”
    The lady did not mean a free couch. Anyway getting back to the Margate museum and falling down Tudor house it will be used as asylum Lodge.

  7. “It has also emerged that “two significant items have been reported missing to the police.” It is understood one of those items is an antique doll.

    Annabelle: The Margate Years

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


one × 4 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.