Posted on November 25, 2011 by


Due to government spending cuts, the Manchester district of Tameside is being forced to reconsider funding to its local museums. A number of museums will be affected, including the Museum of the Manchester Regiment and the Setantii Museum, which are housed at the Ashton Town hall.

For those who are not aware, the Museum of the Manchester Regiment charts the history of the city’s regiment (disbanded in 1957). The regiment recruited mainly from the Manchester area, Stockport, Preston, Oldham, Ashton etc,  before being replaced with the Kings/Liverpool Regt.

The Satantii Museum is one of England’s realtively few (in comparison with Wales & Scotland) historical centres which enable us to connect with our Celtic history. The Satantii were a local tribe of ancient Britons from the same era of Boudicca and the enigmatic King Arthur.

The spending cuts which amount to a halving of current funding may ultimately result in the closure of one of these two museums. Both museums are important in enabling us to understand what our forebearers experienced, how they lived and what they suffered, and in understanding how our lives have progressed and changed.  To add to this, it can be argued that towns without a history to show are empty souls which attract little love or attention from outsiders. As each town loses its touch with its past, each of us loses a part of who we really are.

Arthur Lane, chairman of NESA, was a member of the 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment and after the war he recalls how (in his new profession as private detective) he was employed by Bill Lomas, the Manchester Regiment secretary, to track down the disapearance of many items which had belonged to the regiment at the time of its folding in 1957. Items such as a solid silver table centre with an estimated value of £90,000 , found their way into the hands of privateers who sold them to collectors. The table centre mentioned was actually discovered in a branch of Barclay’s bank.

Arthur is concerned, among other things, that if and/when museums are closed and the current staff employed to care for our history and our heritage are no longer the guardians of it, what will happen to the valuable items which should really belong to us all?

Arthur and the museums of Tameside appeal for the people of Manchester to retain their soul and help in holding on to our history. The following is a letter from the Museum of the Manchester Regiment:    

Museum of the Manchester Regiment

I am writing to you to make you aware of the current ‘Museums and Galleries Service Review’

(Deadline for feedback: 6th January 2012).

I would strongly encourage you to visit the ‘Big Conversation’ webpage and contribute your thoughts and feelings on the recommendations directly at:

Also, please forward this appeal to anyone else that you know that has an interest in the Museum of the Manchester Regiment and/or our Museums and Galleries Service, encouraging them to do the same.

Key Principles:
Following initial consultation with staff, visitors and the public, the following options have been developed for public consultation:

Retain free admission to our Museums and Art Galleries
Reduce its building stock and concentrate activity in 3 key venues
Increase income generation for school education activity so learning becomes self supportive
Increase income generation through collaboration with other services including international exhibitions, retail improvement and charges for professional skills such as technical support.
Following initial consultation, an analysis of visitor figures and our collection priorities the three key sites that would be prioritised would be Portland Basin Museum, The Museum of the Manchester Regiment and Central Art Gallery.

We would therefore regrettably look to close the Rutherford Gallery and Setantii/Waterworks museum. Although these venues are relatively new, they do have a high cost per visitor.

We would also review the opening hours of Astley Cheetham Art Gallery to focus on specific exhibitions. This is likely to entail opening on Friday and Saturday over the summer season.


Garry Smith AMA (Curator)

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
Town Hall, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL6 6DL

Tel: 0161 342 2254