Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Museum preserved

It’s been mentioned elsewhere already, but it’s good news that the former Bass Museum (more recently the Coors Visitor Centre) has been saved and is to reopen next year. Roger Protz in typical Old Socialist style paints this as a triumph of the grassroots over an evil giant corporation, but in reality I suspect this was the kind of outcome Coors were always looking for.

I remember visiting the Bass Museum in 1984 and being impressed by what a fascinating place it was, although perhaps rather modest in scale. I enjoyed a pint of some specially brewed ale (can’t recall what) in the museum bar too. It also struck me that Burton-on-Trent was a rather odd place – a sprawling, amorphous town where it was hard to define an obvious centre, and where the massive Bass and Ind Coope breweries occupied extensive sites right in the middle of the urban area.

Hopefully the new museum will retain a foundation in serious scholarship and not go too far down the “interactive visitor experience” path, which can all too easily be a recipe for disaster. The precedent of the now-defunct Tetley’s Brewery Wharf in Leeds is not too good. And, given the current climate, the operators will have to tread very carefully if they seek to tailor any of their displays to children.


  1. Martrin, Cambridge24 November 2009 at 22:54

    It's good news as long as people visit it - otherwise it's a waste of someone's money (probably our pensions).

    Unfortunately it wasn't big enough to attract visitors from far, though it was a good hour of anyone's time (and was free to CAMRA members !).

    Burton is a sprawling sort of town, but no worse for that. The league football team serves faggots and peas and it has a range of boozers comparable to Stockport, though admittedly without that town's architecture. Balti Towers is a great curry house too.

  2. Burton was also one of the smaller towns (and a rarity for this in the Midlands) to have its own municipal bus fleet, decked out in an unusual red, white and blue livery. It was still going in 1984 but later sold out to the Staffordshire independent Stevensons.


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