Snibston exhibits dispersed as site is demolished

Bulk of collection in storage, 117 objects transferred, returned or loaned
Patrick Steel
Following the demolition of the Snibston Discovery Museum in Coalville, the bulk of its exhibits are in storage, while Leicestershire County Council has dispersed 117 objects through loans, transfers and returns.

Of the exhibits formerly on display at the museum, 1,446 have gone into the county council’s stores at Barrow, County Hall and Snibston.

The council has returned 61 objects that were on loan from Leicester City Museum Service, and 40 objects connected to Leicester’s industrial heritage have been transferred to the city museums, under a standing agreement covering the transfer of museum objects between the two services.

Another 12 objects that were on loan to Snibston from other organisations and private individuals have been returned, and the brick statue of “The Last Shift”, which was made by staff and students of King Edward VII College, is now on display at the college campus.

And three objects have been loaned to other museums: the “Bennie” dragline excavator has been loaned for restoration to the Vintage Excavator Trust in Cumbria; the Frank Whittle jet engine has been loaned to Lutterworth Museum; and an oil fired engine has been loaned to the Museum of Internal Fire in Wales.

“It is likely that some of the objects currently in storage will be redisplayed in future, such as in temporary exhibitions,” said a spokesman for Leicestershire County Council.

The council is looking into providing public access to the pithead buildings through open days, but there are no proposals yet for future use of the former gallery site.

The Coalville site closed in July last year after a legal challenge to save it failed.

Council documents revealed that the clearance of the site would cost it £179,625, while redundancy costs associated with the closure came to £142,000.

The council will also have to pay back £146,146 to the Heritage Lottery Fund, which invested in the museum and its collections.

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