Several years ago, like thousands of mystery fans and crime writers before me, I visited Agatha Christie’s home, Greenway, in Torquay, Devon. For an unabashed fan-girl like me, it was like a pilgrimage to Mecca.
The house is Georgian, the color of clotted cream, set on several hundred acres of lawns and gardens that sweep down to the River Dart, the “perfect house” where Christie spent every summer from the time she bought it in 1938 until her death in 1976.
And what could be a better follow-on to visiting Greenway than a side trip to nearby Torquay Museum with its unique Agatha Christie Gallery?
Well, you’d better visit the museum soon, because if the Torbay Council has its way, and the draconian 42% budget cut they are proposing actually goes through, the museum (in all likelihood) will be forced to close.
John Curran, Agatha Christie curator and expert, author of the Edgar-nominated and Agatha award-winning Agatha Christie's Secret Notebooks and its follow-on, Murder in the Making, asked me to pass the word about this critical situation, and request your help in registering your strong opposition to these cuts.
According to Carl Smith, the museum’s Visitor Services and Marketing Manager:
“Although we sympathise with the difficult financial choices that Torbay Council has to make in the coming years, their proposed cut to Torquay Museum’s grant will have a dramatic negative effect on the Museum. There is a real possibility that Torquay Museum will be forced to close its doors next year after 140 years in existence, which would be an enormous cultural loss to the English Riviera’s residents and holidaymakers. For fans of Agatha Christie, this will mean the loss of the UK’s only museum gallery dedicated to the Queen of Crime, where visitors can step inside Poirot’s study and lounge from the ITV film set, reconstructed in the recently re-developed and improved Torquay Museum Christie Gallery.
We urgently need your help to keep our museum alive. The whole package of proposed Torbay Council budget cuts is currently undergoing a consultation process, so this is your chance to tell the Council how much our museum means to you and the thousands of people each year who visit its Agatha Christie Gallery. If there is a large groundswell of opinion against these cuts, then there is a chance that the Council will reverse their decision – but we need your help now, please.
To register your opposition to Torbay Council’s proposed cuts to Torquay Museum, please follow this link to the Museums Grant Consultation Questionnaire https://www.torbay.gov.uk/surveys/budget/museums/museumsgrant.htm
If you have a Facebook page, or a blog, please make your friends aware of the plight of their museums and enlist their support. You could also write to Torbay’s elected Mayor, Gordon Oliver (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), or Sue Cheriton (email: email@example.com), Executive Head of Residents and Visitor Services at Torbay Council.
I’ve registered my opposition … now it’s your turn. Thanks for your support, and please pass the word.