Wedgwood Museum Trust in administration

Rebecca Atkinson, 26.04.2010
Wedgwood Museum's collection faces uncertain future after trust goes into administration

The Wedgwood Museum Trust (WMT) has gone into administration after being saddled with an estimated £134m pension scheme shortfall – leaving the future of the Wedgwood Museum’s collection uncertain.

The move was a legal necessity in order for the Pension Protection Fund to step in and provide a minimum level of payments to members of Wedgwood pension scheme.

WMT became liable for the Wedgwood Pension Plan Trustee Limited (WPPTL) deficit when Wedgwood companies became insolvent last year. The shortfall affects some 7,000 members of the pension scheme, including former employees of Wedgwood Limited, Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Limited and Stuart and Sons Limited.

The WPPTL has previously hinted it might force the sale of the Wedgwood Museum’s collection, the trust’s only asset. The collection, which was brought together for the first time as a museum in 1906, was wholly owned by Josiah Wedgwood & Sons until 1962 when it was put into the trust.

In a statement, the WMT said the Wedgwood Museum (pictured) remains open as usual and “fully operational”. No redundancies have been announced.

It added: “The museum's trustees are in discussions with a wide range of stakeholders as to how the trust's internationally renowned designated collections can be preserved, and are determined to ensure the survival of the Wedgwood Museum.”

Bob Young and Steve Currie, from insolvency firm Begbies Traynor, have been appointed joint administrators of the WMT.

Although the sale of the collection remains a possibility, Currie told Museums Journal they hope to keep the museum open and only sell as a last resort. One alternative could be finding a new financial backer for the museum.

“We are discussing all the options available,” Currie added.