End of an era as final event set to be held on October 16
Calls have been made for HRH Prince Charles to lend his support for Birmingham’s Aston Manor Transport Museum to remain at its current site. As previously reported, the educational charity, which is based in the historic Witton tram depot opposite the famous Villa football ground, is facing eviction by its landlord, the city council.
The museum took part in the national Heritage Open Weekend programme on September 10/ 11. However, in an interesting twist, campaigners turned out to demonstrate against the move and said they are asking the Prince of Wales for his support as he opened the museum in 1988 on his 40th birthday.
Lyn Harrington, from the Birmingham History Forum, said: “The museum is unique and the atmosphere is brilliant. I can’t believe what’s happening to it.
“I’ve written to Prince Charles about the museum. I don’t know if he’ll be able to help or if there is anything he can do, but he should be aware of what’s happening.”
Richard Gray, the museum’s financial director, said: “The public had a chance to have a general look around on Saturday , while on Sunday people could to have a ride on two buses. Given the circumstances, we didn’t spend a lot of time doing anything special.
“We’re currently looking for alternative venues. It looks likely we will have to spread our exhibits over several venues, probably not in Birmingham, due to the cost of places. However, we won’t be disposing of anything.”
Writing on the ‘Keep Aston Manor Transport Museum’ Facebook group, Mr Gray commented: “I am not aware of any council response to the ‘demonstration’ on Saturday. They are now advertising the property for sale at £500k – interestingly way below their previous price of £900k (CBW1001).
“Suggestions led by them that it is a suitable venue for Asian banquets do not appear to have elicited a reaction from that quarter, and I am not aware of any surveyors wishing to view the property. If they do, then if I am present then the many drawbacks will be made plain.
“In the meantime we have to make plans to move out. At present these include safeguarding all the vehicles and artifacts that belong to the Museum and do not include any intention to dispose of these assets at this stage. The possibility of moving lock stock and barrel to alternative premises is being actively looked at but if this is on a commercial rent basis, it will not be realistic.”
Closure date to the public is set for October 30, with the final event on the October 16.
Mr Gray concluded: “It may well be that the last bus on service will have signage of ‘THE END’ – as reference to the city’s last tram.”