Starkey to launch Hoard appeal in Birmingham

By on 13/01/2010 in News

Historian Dr David Starkey will today make a passionate plea for funds to save the Staffordshire Hoard for the West Midlands. He is amongst a host of prominent public figures supporting the campaign, launched today by The Art Fund charity, to raise the £3.3m needed by 17 April to save this awe-inspiring find of Anglo-Saxon treasure for Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent.

The Art Fund's new Director, Dr Stephen Deuchar, will kick-start the public appeal by announcing an initial Art Fund grant of £300,000 and by unveiling the official donation website www.artfund.org/hoard. Birmingham City Council which runs Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, will announce that it is giving an initial £100,000 towards the campaign, and Stoke-on-Trent City Council which runs the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery will also give £100,000 bringing the sum already raised already to £500,000.

Dr David Starkey said: “Archaeological finds don’t come any bigger than this. The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest and most valuable collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever; it’s the most important find for over half a century, and, in terms of the history of Middle England, the most important ever. But break it up or move it and its meaning is lost. It must stay here, together and intact, to be studied and displayed here in the West Midlands, the foundation of whose history it will now become.”

Dr Stephen Deuchar said: “This is the most significant and beautiful treasure find from any era that has ever been unearthed in England. We are thrilled to be leading the public campaign and making an initial grant of £300,000 towards the £3.3million total. For years to come the treasure will be a source of awe and inspiration for all to experience - and we - along with the rest of the nation - are very much looking forward to discovering its story.”

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MP, Minister for Culture and Tourism said:
“I would like to pay tribute to The Art Fund and its partners - Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, Lichfield and Tamworth councils - for ensuring the public fundraising campaign to save the Staffordshire Hoard has got off to such a flying start. Although there is a long way to go towards raising the target of £3.3m, I know how much the Hoard has captured the imaginations of local people, and so I am confident we'll make it. The Hoard is incredibly significant to the understanding of our Saxon heritage and it is only right that it should be kept and displayed here in the West Midlands for future generations to enjoy.”

Councillor Martin Mullaney, Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport & Culture said: “I am delighted that The Art Fund has joined us in our efforts to raise the money required to secure this extraordinary piece of the nation’s history. We know from the 40,000 visitors that came to Birmingham to see this extraordinary treasure, how passionately they feel that we must bring it back to the West Midlands for the benefit of all. Therefore, I can announce today that Birmingham City Council will be contributing an initial £100,000 towards the fund to help bring it back home to the region.”

Councillor Hazel Lyth, Stoke-on-Trent City Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Culture said: “We are pleased to announce capital funding of £100,000 to support the acquisition of this incredible treasure.
The Staffordshire Hoard is one of the most significant and important finds ever made in this country. And Stoke-on-Trent City Council is committed, along with Birmingham City Council, to do everything it can to save the treasure for the country and ensure it stays in the region it was found. The funding will be off-set by the tremendous long-term economic benefits this treasure will bring, in terms of attracting visitors and tourist spend; educational benefits; and a lasting cultural legacy. We welcome The Art Fund's grant and Birmingham City Council's funding. We are pursuing funding from other public funding bodies as well, and urge the public to support the campaign and make a donation.”

Over the next 13 weeks events and activities will be taking place throughout the West Midlands to raise funds to keep the Staffordshire Hoard in the region. More than 80 of the most significant artefacts from the Hoard, including items never seen before, will be on display at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent between 13 February and 7 March.

All donations should be given via the official campaign website www.artfund.org/hoard
Or by telephone on 0844 415 4004; Cheques can be sent to
The Art Fund, Freepost LON 17186, PO BOX 2003, Kirkcaldy, KY2 6BR

Ends

Notes to editors:

The Campaign
The Art Fund is leading the campaign to jointly acquire the treasure for Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke-on-Trent. We are working in partnership with the councils of Birmingham, Lichfield, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent and Tamworth as well as Advantage West Midlands, Staffordshire University, British Museum, Museums Libraries and Archives Council and the Government Office for the West Midlands. If successful, the hoard will go on show in Birmingham as one of the proposed highlights of the UK City of Culture Bid Programme of events in 2013. A series of other displays will also be planned across the region, as part of a Mercian Trail that will explore the history of the Hoard. The exhibition at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery between 13 February and 7 March will be one of the first events to mark centenary celebrations in 2010 of the federation of Stoke-on-Trent’s six towns.

The Staffordshire Hoard
The treasure was discovered in a field in the West Midlands in July last year by metal detectorist Terry Herbert The find was reported to Duncan Slarke, Finds Liaison Officer of the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), who contacted Roger Bland, Head of the PAS and Kevin Leahy, National Finds Adviser. Birmingham Archaeology carried out the excavation, funded by English Heritage, and this was completed within a month. The Hoard was sent to the Coroner of South Staffordshire and declared treasure on 24 September 2009. On 25 November 2009 the Treasure Valuation Committee reached its valuation of £3.3 million, and the museums interested in acquiring the Hoard were asked to confirm their intentions. The TVC then generated an 'invoice' to the museums, giving four months from this date for the money to be raised. This gave the 17 April deadline. The Hoard comprises over 1,500 items made of gold, silver and precious stones, and dates back to the 7th Century. Mostly military in nature, it is by far the largest find of Anglo-Saxon gold ever recorded, with over 5kg of gold and 1.3kg of silver. The craftsmanship and beauty of the pieces indicate possible royal ownership, and promise to transform our understanding of the lives of the Anglo-Saxon people, and the role the region then known as Mercia played in history.

In addition to the £3.3million needed to acquire the Hoard a longer term fundraising strategy is underway to raise a further £1.7million to ensure that it can be properly conserved, studied and displayed. This brings the total long term fundraising target to £5million. Any money raised in addition to the initial £3.3m will go towards that £1.7m needed.

The Art Fund
The Art Fund is the UK's leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art. It is funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections. Other recent achievements include: helping secure Titian's Diana and Actaeon for the nation in 2009 with a grant of £1million; helping secure Anthony d'Offay's collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million and funding its nationwide tour with an additional £500,000 over two years; leading the successful £550,000 appeal to keep Turner's Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK, and spearheading campaign to ensure Dumfries House in Ayrshire and its contents were secured intact for the nation in July 2007. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit
www.artfund.org.

The Art Fund is a Registered Charity No. 209174

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  1. Joynur Rahman says:

    It is customary for the treasures of this land to be available for public viewing to the nation at the British Museum. A sensible solution would be for the historic relics to spend 9 months in Birmingham and 3 months in London.

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