Williamson Art Gallery & Museum

A message from our President Professor Robert Lee

Dear All,

You may well have signed the petition to save the Williamson Art Gallery and Museum from being mothballed (closed).

The Friends have always had incredible support from the staff of the Art Gallery and its collections include unique items relating to the history of the Park and of Birkenhead in general.

Could I ask you to share the petition with as many friends as possible? If we were to lose the Williamson, it would have consequences for the general standing of Birkenhead!

Many thanks


This from the  Chair of the Williamson and Priory Friends

This is the time of the year when Wirral is setting their budget for 2021 – 2022. In their Consultation Document, at Section 11, they say

 “a full review of the council’s museum service provision which includes the Williamson Art Gallery & Museum. A separate exercise would be required to establish the cost of maintaining any buildings mothballed by this proposal and a decision taken as to what to do with the historic collections. Retaining the collections will attract an annual maintenance cost of approximately £50,000 per annum. Closure of the museums service could save £327,500 from the council budget per year.”

You can see details of the proposed budget at


The Trustees of the Friends of the Williams and Priory are urging members to respond to this consultation and draw to your attention that it remains open until 22 January 2021, so we do not have very long. Obviously, closing our much-loved Williamson would be a disaster and have possible implications for the Priory and the Transport Museum, both of which are currently managed from the Williamson, which practical issues may not yet have occurred to Wirral.

The Trustees think that, as well as completing the survey, a more direct approach could be effective. We plan to organize a petition but we would also encourage you to write to your local councillor.

 In writing to your councillor, it can be helpful to get across what the Williamson means and has meant to you, perhaps from your childhood. The following are areas that may resonate with you: -

  • Maybe you are a parent or grandparent who appreciates the educational advantages of having two excellent museum sites in our midst.
  • Maybe you know of children who have had an exciting school visit to the Williamson or the Priory? Remember, young families thinking of moving to the Wirral will be looking for opportunities for their children.
  • Maybe as a local resident you appreciate the exhibitions and concerts at the Williamson and the Priory. You might belong to an art group or an art appreciation group who use these special places.
  • Maybe you are a local artist and appreciate the opportunity to see excellent artefacts and to take part in local art exhibitions staged at the Williamson. Applications for the Wirral Open Art Exhibition come from all over the country, which is excellent publicity for the Borough.

If any of these thoughts ring true with you, please include them in your letter.

 Please look at the attached list of councillors which shows the area they represent and any relevant responsibilities or interests which they have regarding education and tourism on the Wirral.

We should all be concerned about the future of our excellent gallery and museum sites which have national recognition.

As a Friend of the Williamson and Priory can I urge you to write to at least one councillor to express your reaction to the proposed budget.

 The Council want to hear your views by 22nd January 2021, so please make them known.

 Yours sincerely

 Mary Compton-Rickett, Chair of the Williamson and Priory Friends