It seems that the Broadfield House Glass Museum, in Wordsley/Kingswinford, in the Black Country, has been slated for closure by April 2010

“It is the only dedicated glass museum in Great Britain of international repute and ranked in the top five worldwide. … A saving of approximately £120,000 per annum will be made but the loss to the general public will be of a greater magnitude.”

I’ll be sorry to see it go (*). I guess there’s now a potential risk that the glass collection might go to America, following 8,000 items from the Wedgwood ceramics collection (which, ironically, has just ended up in Birmingham, Alabamba).

Dudley Council’s cuts to the Glass Museum are just part of a wider national picture, reports The Stage

“…the National Campaign for the Arts and the National Association of Local Government Arts Officers have warned that non-statutory services such as culture are likely to be first hit when authorities implement cost-cutting drives. … Over the past month, a number of local authorities have announced that they will be making massive cuts and are currently in the process of deciding where their axes will fall.”

Two related DEMOS reports suggested that, in 2006/7, local arts were already facing a crisis — even before the recession hit…

The DEMOS report Local Authorities: a change in the cultural climate (Dec 2006)…

“This report warns that in some places in the UK, culture faces a crisis at Local Authority level. The picture is confused and confusing — there is no cultural system, and hence reliable evidence is difficult to come by. But that is no reason to ignore the problem of falling budgets and asset disposals. Except for libraries and listed buildings, spending on cultural services is not a statutory requirement.”

The DEMOS report Cultural Value and the Crisis of Legitimacy” (March 2006)…

“At local government level culture is suffering extreme funding cuts” … “According to a recent survey quoted in Arts Professional, 79 per cent of local government arts officers were expecting their budgets to be at standstill or to be cut. Eighteen English local authorities – one in 20 – have dispensed with their arts services completely since 2002.”

(*) I’ve a special interest here, since my ancestors (before moving up to Birmingham to become jewellers and bicycle-manufacturers) made engraved glass in Wordsley.