I write hoping that you may be able to advise on a tricky situation regarding Baguley Hall, As you are aware it is now nearly three years since HTNW were supposedly given the OK to take over the ownership of the Hall by the then Culture Secretary.
Well, despite enquiries to John (no response whatsoever) and yourself and to Historic England we appear to be no further on! Due diligence was, carried out on Heritage Trust NW but they appear to have gone very quiet, indeed if you check their website they have never mentioned Baguley Hall and neither have EH! As Friends of Baguley Hall we could have been up and running if not actually with the Hall restored and fully utilised but with a full mobilised corps of volunteers working to raise funds in the community and applying for lottery money but because of no or very vague information provided (EH say “its taking time to formulate plans” and we have heard nothing from John Miller of HTNW) We are left in the situation where there is no point in holding even an inaugural meeting for our group and I am left just trying to keep interest alive with Facebook, Google+ and a website presence and this is an unsustainable situation in the long term. We have a considerable constituency of 500 regulars on Facebook, Nearly 40,000 views on Google+ and if this isn’t an indication of interest in BH then I don’t know what is. I regularly deal with enquiries about the hall from all over the world, Even Africa and the Middle East Baguley Hall is a much-loved, internationally known building. Now I come on to the wasted opportunities for Baguley where the Hall could have been a significant Icon of Regeneration for an area that needs a central location for Community Use. Can we please have a Statement of Work done so far and clarification of the exact role of Heritage Trust North West in the future of the Hall, if anything, they appear to be decreasing the number of projects they are working on if their ‘bare-bones’ website is to be taken as read.
Whilst we appreciate your help organising the Friend’s Visits over the last two years, which have been a great success, I’m sure you would agree that this is hardly going to be enough moving forward. Speaking to other Friends a consensus is forming that unless positive news is forthcoming soon then we should maybe look at publicising the increasingly frustrating lack of news and failure to even liaise with us, as the best friends our beautiful old hall will ever have (and let’s face it, We are the people who will make up the Hall’s future volunteer corps!) perhaps, we should set ourselves up as a more professional BPT Charity and attempt to convince yourselves plus DCMS that FOBH would be a more pro-active and open management team for Baguley Hall. With our enthusiasm, diligence and ideas for the Hall we could have at least been on the brink of becoming revenue self-sufficient in the daily operations of the Hall by now. I had built relationships with local business partners Wythenshawe Community Housing Trust, Locality, Manchester Airport Group and had planned that Baguley Hall be included on the World Monuments Fund Watch list 2016 but all this has had to go into abeyance with little to show by way of work or even plans for future work. The Hall has had 70 years of indifference and neglect. We, as The Friends of Baguley Hall, feel we cannot let this go on any longer without some form of protest. Please can we have a meeting so that perhaps some of these concerns can be addressed? Yours, Mathew Hopkins Chairman -Friends of Baguley Hall Professor Michael Wood Professor for The Public Understanding of History University of Manchester Mike Kane MP MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East NOTE: A meeting between FOBH and HE has been arranged for 17 March at BH, attending will be Nick Hill and Catherine Dewar for HE; Myself. Pam Cohen and Prof Michael Wood for FOBH