HC Deb 14 February 1957 vol 564 cc1431-2
37. Air Commodore Harvey

asked the Secretary to the Treasury why the eighteen gold coins found recently in Moody Street, Congleton, and declared to be treasure trove, are all being disposed of to the Grosvenor Museum at Chester; and whether it will be possible for a few of these coins to be retained in the Borough of Congleton in accordance with the wishes of the civic authorities.

Mr. Powell

The British Museum is entrusted with the disposal of finds of this kind in England. In accordance with normal practice, the Congleton hoard, not being required for the National Collection, was offered as a whole to the Grosvenor Museum at Chester, which is the nearest museum to Congleton and has a fine collection of coins. Custody and loan of the coins are now matters for the Grosvenor Museum.

Air Commodore Harvey

Will my hon. Friend look at this matter again, and is he aware that a few years ago, in similar circumstances, the borough of Shrewsbury was allowed to retain some of the coins found? Is he further aware that Congleton received its Charter in 1272 and that there is a public library with similar coins where these could be shown? Will he bear in mind that, unless he reconsiders this matter, Congleton will present a petition to this House and I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment?

Hon. Members


Mr. Nicholson

Does not my hon. Friend think it desirable that all areas in this country should take an interest in their local archeology, and is he aware that this is the very way to discourage it? Not only from the cultural point of view, but also for the sake of safeguarding archæological finds and other things of interest, this should be done, and that is the wrong way to go about it.

Mr. Powell

Those are considerations which the British Museum has in mind in advising upon the disposal of these funds. An important factor is that hoards of this kind should, where possible, be kept together for purposes of research. It is of some historical interest what the coins were which were found at one time and place. So far as local exhibition is concerned, I am told that Congleton has been offered facilities for loan and obtaining copies of these coins.

Air Commodore Harvey

On a point of order, Sir. It is an insult to Congleton to be offered copies—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—and I give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.

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