Supporting the Wedgwood Collection

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
Wedgwood plate

the man who started it al – Josiah Wedgwood

One of the most important industrial archives in the world and a unique record of 250 years of British art is under threat of being separated and sold off. To retain it as one collection and to keep it where it is the Art Fund is trying to raise the final £2.74m of the £15.75m fundraising target by 30 November.

The Collection is the major asset of the Wedgwood Museum Trust, which inherited £134m of pension debt as a result of the UK subsidiary of Waterford Wedgwood Plc going into administration in 2009. The debt transferred from the company to Trust because the two had been linked through a shared pension fund although what advisor came up that idea should have been summarily dismissed. Although the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) – the industry body set up by the government to compensate individual pensioners in the event of a company insolvency – will absorb the liability, it has a duty to claw back as much as it can from sale of assets.

In December 2011 the High Court ruled that the Wedgwood Collection was indeed an asset of the Wedgwood Museum Trust and that it should be sold in order to repay some of the debt owed. In order to protect the Collection from ever being at risk again, if the money can be raised, the Art Fund plans to gift it to the Victoria & Albert Museum, the national museum of art and design. Without needing to move it, but with its ownership secure in perpetuity, the V&A intends to assign it on long-term loan to the Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston, which will lie at the heart of a major new visitor experience as part of Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton’s (WWRD) £34m redevelopment of the site – set for completion in spring 2015.

The Art Fund has launched an appeal to raise the full £15.75m needed for the purchase, in order to keep this irreplaceable collection together and on display. Thanks to major support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and a number of private trusts and foundations, over £13m has already been raised. The campaign has until 30 November to find the remaining £2.74m necessary to purchase – and save – the Collection.

Today, we at Just about Travel are urging to copy our example and donate that you can to save this for the nation. Hundreds of thousands of people visit the Potteries and the museum each year. As a visitor attraction, the loss would be keenly felt but as the loss of an important piece of Midlands heritage it would be even more damaging. If all who visited the museum were joined by all those who watched Antiques Roadshow, Bargain Hunt, Flog it and the like and each donated £1 the collection could be saved.

When the Staffordshire Hoard was in jeopardy a few years ago, readers helped donate and the Hoard was bought for the nation becoming a popular visit attraction. Help do the same for the Wedgwood Collection.

Please click here or go to https://www.artfund.org/save-wedgwood-collection/donate to help keep the collection together.

 

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