PENARTH TOWN COUNCIL ENTERS SECRET TALKS TO TAKE-OVER TURNER HOUSE

Turner House Penarth is cuerrently closed - yet again. According to its tenants Ffotogallery - it's whilst a new exhibition is being prepared

Turner House Penarth is currently closed – yet again. According to its tenants Ffotogallery – it’s whilst a new exhibition is being prepared

PDN can reveal that Penarth Town Council has engaged in secret discussions with the National Museum of Wales with a view to acquiring the Turner House Art Gallery in Plymouth Road.

It’s the latest development in Penarth Town Council’s low-profile long-term aim of returning control of the Turner Gallery to the people of Penarth – to whom  the gallery and its contents were originally bequeathed.

James Pyke Thompson - benefactor and founder of Turner House Penarth

James Pyke Thompson – benefactor and founder of Turner House Penarth

Turner House was originally built by the Penarth art connoisseur James Pyke Thomson who bequeathed the art gallery and original Turner paintings which it contained (which are now worth many millions of pounds) to the people of Penarth to held in trust by the old Penarth Urban District Council and Pyke Thomson’s surviving brothers.

On October 17th 1921 however Penarth Urban District Council handed over the building to the National Museum of Wales – but continued pay for its maintenance from the council precept  – extracted  from local residents .

In April 2003 the National Museum leased the building to the publicly-funded photographic charity “Ffotogallery” as a photographic exhibition venue. Penarth’s original Turner paintings remain in storage –  unseen  – in the vaults of the National Museum.

The  full saga of the Turner House bequest is told on http://tinyurl.com/qc2hjdl

In December 2016 Penarth Council let slip – probably by mistake – in a little-noticed document called “Vision Aims and Objectives 2017-2022″” that it was considering “taking control” of Turner House  – but quite how this arrangement is to be funded was a mystery then – and still is.

The process is being managed not by a democratically open council-committee – but by the council’s secretive so-called Strategic Review Group – the membership of which is not publicly declared and the minutes of which are not made public.

Now it’s understood that there have been formal meetings between the National Museum and the Town Council at which some sort of offer has been made by  Penarth Town Council to take over the ownership/stewardship  of the building from the National Museum of Wales (which itself is a “subsidiary” of the Welsh Assembly Government).

Ffotogallery's displays of photographs at Turner House have been of variable quality with long gaps between exhibitions

Ffotogallery’s displays of photographs at Turner House have been of variable quality with long gaps between exhibitions

It’s envisaged that Ffotogallery would be allowed to remain in Turner House until March 2018  after which time Penarth Town Council could take control of the building. There is no mention as to  whether the  original Turner drawings and paintings would be returned to Penarth.

The Labour-run Penarth Town Council has elected not to take the townspeople of Penarth into its confidence, has sworn councillors to secrecy  and has kept the whole Turner House acquisition project under wraps .

The approach made by the council to the National Museum has not been mentioned in any council or council committee meeting to which the general public has access.

 

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9 Responses to PENARTH TOWN COUNCIL ENTERS SECRET TALKS TO TAKE-OVER TURNER HOUSE

  1. Chris David says:

    This Strategic Review Group- is it another mad Labour secret society? Any group / committee should be open to public scrutiny in all they do. Would be great to get control of the gallery back. But my worry is Labour will hijack it and we’ll have bonkers “social statement” exhibitions appealing to little more than so called minorities. As for this Ffoto lot – another made up word they’ve proved to be vandals and of little interest to the general public. They should have been kicked out after the alterations they made to the building were discovered. Irony is that proved them to be Philistines ha.

  2. Ann Other says:

    Oh no! Please don’t! Have they considered the cost implications of the move? Are they going to tell us what they are?

  3. Lloyd says:

    These Turners just can’t stay out of the news.

  4. Mgg says:

    H ha a ! A mention about looking To take over included in a freely available document. Omg the secrecy is shocking !, where is shouty mcgreagsby when you need her.? Oh yeah shes making an foi request when she knows she will get the same response as before but it looks really good just before an election to appear to be doing something. Its all about timing ..

  5. Arthur King says:

    Generally secrecy should be deplored, but sometimes it is needed where there might be confidential discussions as there might be here between the PTC and the National Museum. I hope the disclosure of what is happening doesn’t cause problems.
    Could the council manage this resource without calls for further cash from Penarth residents?

    • Mgg says:

      Well said .As you note lets hope this external disclosure doesn’t scupper any currently private ,Not secret, discussions.

      • Chris David says:

        Missing the point- its all public money.There should be complete openness. What have they to hide?

  6. Mark Foster says:

    The Fighting Temerity of it!

  7. Chris David says:

    You tugging for compliments?

Comments are closed.