Barnet Museum 'relieved' to be offered historical artefacts in the final hour

Staff at Barnet Museum are “relieved” after discovering they will be offered historic items from the former Church Farmhouse Museum before they are auctioned later this month.

Barnet Council originally offered Barnet Museum a limited selection of the items, but has made a last minute u-turn just weeks before approximately 700 artefacts are due to be sold in Warwickshire.

Dr Gillean Gear, an archivist at the museum in Wood Street, said: “I was intensely relieved. It was terrible to see Church Farmhouse when it closed – it looked awful and it was terribly upsetting.

“It’s damaging to the local community to sell the items elsewhere. They belong in Barnet.”

Church Farmhouse Museum closed last March after losing its annual funding from the council.

Since then, some of its artefacts have been handed back to their owners and others have been given to The Holley Cornelius Collection at Bletchley Park, Barnet Museum, Barnet Council Archives, London Screen Archives, Lauderdale House, The RAF Museum in Hendon and the Museum of London.

Councillor Robert Rams has announced he is happy for Barnet Museum to suggest any more pieces they would like, but Dr Gear says it has not been made clear whether restrictions will be in put in place.

She said: “The council have gone from one extreme to the other and I’m really please, but I have reservations about the practicalities.

“It will be a scramble now to see what we want. We’ll need to do research and then there’s the question of whether there will be limits on what we can have, and the cost of transporting them from Warwickshire.

“Wouldn’t life have been a lot simpler if the council had done this in the beginning?”

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