Bright future for Gloucester museum after sale agreed
By Rob Freeman | 22nd March 2021
The future of a Gloucester museum has been assured after five years of negotiations.
The Folk of Gloucester in Westgate Street has been bought by the building preservation trust Gloucester Historic Buildings.
Gloucester City Council has owned the 500-year-old, Grade 2* listed buildings since 1933, but its future was placed in doubt by government cuts.
But after five years of talks, which saw the Gloucester Civic Trust operate services at the museum since 2019, a deal has been agreed.
The buildings will be be leased to the Civic Trust and operated by volunteers as a museum promoting much of the former collection, re-enactment days, a catering operation, meeting rooms and a permanent office for the trust.
Gloucester Historic Buildings chairman Martyn White, a trustee of the Civic Trust, said: "An off the cuff remark in 2016 by then mayor Councillor Neil Hampson set off a chain of events that has finally led to one of the most important days in the history of the Gloucester Civic Trust.
"The Mayor posed the question "what if the Civic Trust took it on?" as a way to best preserve the buildings and bring them back into public use."
He continued: "First we had to establish a framework of heads of terms which could be approved by the Heritage Lottery Fund which provided a £630,000 grant in 2009 and retained an interest in the building.
"Because of the closeness of the parties involved, the entire document pack had to be independently reviewed by a large solicitors' practice in Cheltenham.
"Seven contracts later we have completed the sale. It is the start of a new era for the Gloucester Civic Trust."
Folk spokesman Alex Bailey said the plan was to reopen on May 22 and welcome visitors free of charge.
He said: "The wheelwright's, cobbler's and carpenter's workshops will be open for the first time in many years.
"The following bank holiday weekend there will be a music event and the cafe and Tudor garden will be open.
"Visitors can learn about our plans, in partnership with the city council, to deliver a culture and heritage vision for these much-loved buildings."
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