HC Deb 15 May 1968 vol 764 cc1218-9
44. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland in view of modern travel and educational facilities, whether he will take steps to ensure that all locally discovered historical and artistic objects of value should remain in their local museums instead of being concentrated in central overcrowded museums.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Bruce Millan)

Where these objects are treasure trove and therefore Crown property decisions about their safekeeping are best taken individually, with regard to their nature, value and national importance, the facilities needed to care for them adequately, the local interests involved and the accessibility of the museums concerned to the majority of the interested public.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Minister aware that St. Ninian's very valuable treasure, which was discovered by an Aberdonian in the Shetland Islands, was incarcerated for a very long time in Edinburgh Museum away from public view until at length it was rescued and sent to Aberdeen Museum where happily it is now on public view? Was it not a disgrace, and will he see that this does not occur again?

Mr. Millan

I do not think I would accept everything my hon. and learned Friend has said, but replicas of St. Ninian's treasure are being made. Most of these have been completed now and I hope they will be made available to the Shetland Museum shortly. That, I think, we would all welcome.

Mrs. Ewing

Would not the hon. Gentleman reconsider the decision and transfer this treasure to the Shetland Museum in view of the fact that it is a very beautiful modern museum and that there is an absence of crime in the Shetland Islands, which cannot be said of many parts of the mainland of Scotland?

Mr. Millan

I am not sure what is meant by the second part of that supplementary question, but this matter has been considered carefully and I do not think we can reconsider the decision which has been taken.

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