Decade of memories

The Duke of Northumberland with trustees past and present at The Baliffgate Museum in Alnwick.
The Duke of Northumberland with trustees past and present at The Baliffgate Museum in Alnwick.

TODAY is the day that an Alnwick attraction marks its 10th anniversary.

The Bailiffgate Museum is the toast of the town, as it celebrates the special birthday.

Presenting the history of Alnwick and district, the venue opened its doors to the public on April 26, 2002.

It was unveiled by patron the Duke of Northumberland, who played an important role in the venue’s development, assisted by youngsters Georgina Anderson, Chantelle Marsh, Claire Patterson and John Tate.

A decade on, and the museum has gone from strength to strength, and boasts ambitious plans for the future.

And those who have been involved with it over the years are absolutely delighted to be putting 10 candles on to the museum’s birthday cake, including two of the youngsters – Georgina and Chantelle – who opened the museum.

“It is absolutely amazing to reach the 10-year milestone. I am so proud,” said chairman of trustees Tom Pattinson.

“The big positive for me is that we are still here. But not only are we still here, we are full of energy and have great plans for the future,” added Tom, who was one of five foundation trustees, alongside Adrian Ions, John Chappells, Gavin Kent and Sister Mary Brigid.

To help celebrate the 10-year anniversary, the venue hosted a special birthday bash on Monday.

A large crowd gathered to commemorate the milestone.

Speaking at the event, the Duke of Northumberland said: “Having been at the birth of the museum and helped a bit with the teething problems, I am delighted to be here to celebrate its 10th birthday.

“I think all of you who have played an enormous part in getting it to this stage, particularly Adrian and Tom, should feel justifiably proud – you have done a fantastic job.

“Bailiffgate is now part of Alnwick’s heritage, a really important part and I look forward to watching it grow and mature over the next 10 years.”

As part of the anniversary celebrations, the attraction is throwing open its doors for free this weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, people will be able to comment on the plans which are being developed as part of the second stage Heritage Lottery Fund bid, for the Bailiffgate Museum – Heritage at the Heart of the Community project.

The ambitious initiative aims to present the rich heritage of Alnwick and district and the museum’s extensive collection in new and exciting ways, among other things.

Plans are also in the pipeline to create a small local history resource centre within the museum.

Tom said: “We hope as many people from the town and the whole of the district can come during our open weekend and give us their ideas and comments on the developing plans.”

The museum is open normal hours, 10am to 4pm, during the free-entry weekend.

l See next week’s Gazette for a look back over the last 10 years.