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"Disappointment" as council plans to sell off Barnet's historical artefacts
Activists are “extremely disappointed” over Barnet Council’s plans to sell off artefacts from a former museum.
Items from the former Church Farmhouse Museum in Church End, Hendon, are being catalogued for auction in Warwickshire next month.
The Grade II* listed building was put up for sale after the council withdrew its £126,000 annual funding and closed the museum in March last year.
Jeremy Teare, chair of the museum’s friends group, said: “I think the council is putting the cart before the horse. They should wait until they find a buyer and then sell the items.”
The auction list includes domestic items such as tea pots and candle sticks as well as jewellery and furniture.
Mr Teare said: “We have had large numbers of schoolchildren visiting the museum over the years to learn something about the heritage of this country. It’s extremely disappointing that many people will now lose that opportunity.”
Other artefacts have been handed back to the people who originally donated them and some are being stored at Hendon Library.
Gerrard Roots, who was curator at the museum since 1979, said: "It's absolutely disgraceful. Selling off the rest of the collection will be a great loss for everybody in the area.
"The collection doesn't particularly have a monetary value but it has a cultural value."
Dr Gillian Gear, the archivist and secretary at Barnet Museum in Wood Street, said: “The council gave us back the items that belonged to us and a few domestic items such as a scrubbing board and iron but that’s it.
“We weren’t offered any other items that might be of local interest. We thought they were going to offer them to us or other museums but they didn’t give us that option.
“I think they’re being very bad. I think they will end up with a reputation as a council that doesn’t care about its heritage.
“We believe in knowledge and building a community but the council is destroying what knowledge of Barnet’s background we had.
A council spokesman said: “Many items from Church Farmhouse’s collection have been re-homed with other museums and collections, including Barnet Museum. Other items of local importance have been retained by the council in the borough’s archives at Hendon Library.
"Some of the collection is due to be auctioned next month with the intention that the proceeds be used to help support and develop heritage work and the future use of items retained by the council.”