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Fury at plans for museum; Protests at scheme to rehouse classic collection.

Byline: Terry Grimley

THE curator who developed Dudley's Broadfield House Glass Museum into an internationallyrecognised centre of excellence has criticised plans to rehouse its collection.

Charles Hajdemach said proposals to close the listed building in Kingswinford and move its collection to the Red House Glass Cone centre in Stourbridge's Glass Quarter caused outrage when revealed in January.

Mr Hajdemach, who took early retirement six years ago and is writing a history of 20th-century British glass, said: "The council put out that they wanted to move the collection to the Red House Glass Cone to make it bigger. It's nonsense, there's no space to swing a cat there." Protesters have submitted a petition signed by 6,000 residents to the council, and support has come from as far afield as the Corning Glass Museum in America.

Dudley Council, which is looking to save pounds 120,000 on its museums budget, said no decision has been made and a statement on its website says that if a feasibility study, to be completed in October, advises against the move, Broadfield House will remain open.

But its supporters distrust the Conservative-controlled council and fear that it will attempt to push through the closure. Councillors have pointed to low visitor figures of 2,000 a year compared to nearly three times as many at the Red House Glass Cone.

Mr Hajdemach said: "The deficit Dudley faces in the next financial year is about pounds 4 million. If that's the case, I think they will sacrifice Broadfield House. Some local authorities are pro-active on the arts and museums but in Dudley it's not the case. I worked with these people for 30 years and they're just trying to confuse the issue." A council spokesman said there would be no decision until a "robust" feasibility study had been completed..

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Artistic: Work by Amanda Brisbane, from Ludlow, is among that on show at the Broadfield House Glass Museum, in Kingswinford,
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 11, 2009
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