Contributed by Dr. Angel -Drakakis-Smith
It has been rumoured and suggested in written policy documents that the museum at the Brampton is to be moved to the centre of town to the now defunct St Giles and St Georges School. The museum at the Brampton has contributed to a very successful complex of activities at the Brampton Park which comprises a play area, a miniature steam railway, an aviary and gardens. For some children, the park and museum are the first introduction to the cultural and leisure facilities of Newcastle. Whilst most accept that change is inevitable the question to be asked is – would this be a change for the better or not? It seems that already most artistic endeavour takes place outside the town. To dismantle and move a vital component of a winning combination from Brampton Park smacks of foolhardiness, although it is recognised that there is little of cultural value in the town centre – no art gallery, no theatre, no bookshop etc. Since this has been established as a long precedent, then it needs a gradual step change to bring living culture into the town centre – which could be done by turning the old school, an interesting Victorian building in its own right, into an art gallery and tea shop, artist and craft workshops, a craft gallery etc., with artists and craftspeople showing how it is done. In this way the school could be an extension of the museum without its integrity being destroyed by an inappropriate move. It would also be able to pay for itself ensuring future sustainability. It should not be a silly option between the Brampton museum and the school. It should be a question of how to support and sustain both. The citizens of Newcastle deserve this and will accept nothing less.