Billionaire pledges to save Wedgwood collection

John Caudwell has offered to buy collection in the event of a sale
Profile image for Geraldine Kendall Adams
Geraldine Kendall Adams
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John Caudwell, the billionaire founder of the Caudwell Group mobile phone wholesaler, announced yesterday that he would step in to save the entire Wedgwood Museum collection if no other solution could be found to this week’s High Court decision.

Judges ruled that the museum’s collection of art and ceramics, worth between £11m and £18m, could be sold to plug the £134m pension fund deficit brought about by the collapse of Waterford Wedgwood Potteries.

Though the company and the museum separated nearly 50 years ago, the museum was found to be liable because five of its employees were members of the Wedgwood Group Pension Plan scheme.

In a statement yesterday, Caudwell said: "The first thing that strikes me is just how grossly unfair it is that a law designed to protect people in totally different circumstances is causing such vast worry and uncertainty amongst those who are completely blameless for a debt that may result in an important collection – and a big piece of potteries heritage – being broken up.

"If the trustees don't find any other way of solving the issue, then I will attempt to buy the entire collection and keep it in situ for the foreseeable future, and continue with public access.

"This would be subject, of course, to the outcome of any discussions with administrators, and input of the trustees."

He added: "I passionately believe that the collection should remain intact and in place, and available for public viewing.”

The BBC reports that George Stonier, chairman of the Wedgwood Museum Trust, is planning to arrange a meeting with Caudwell.

Wedgwood collection could be sold



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