Threat to our local heritage? Concern over Rasen’s town collection

When Rase Heritage Society asked people to get behind them and help save some Rasen artefacts for the town they were overwhelmed by the response - now they are calling out again to help find a future for the past.

One of the items picked up by the Rase Heritage Society at the auction in 2009 was this Coates ironmongers' sign.
One of the items picked up by the Rase Heritage Society at the auction in 2009 was this Coates ironmongers' sign.

In 2009, after a campaign in the Rasen Mail, around £3,000 was pledged to buy specific heritage items at an auction following the death of local collector Brian Ayre.

The purchases were added to the society’s growing collection – which currently stands at around 2,500 items – and have been displayed at temporary events over the years.

Now, one of its main storage areas could be put in jeopardy and members do not want the collection to be lost to the town.

Society chairman, Mal Jones, said: “We have been told, through Coun Stephen Bunney, that both our town council and West Lindsey District Council have a general feeling of ‘positive support’ for the heritage of the town and surrounding area.

“For almost 10 years, we have worked with Rasen Hub for storing a lot of our items and giving us a ‘home’, but as they are planning to close this autumn, we are unsure of the future of the collection.”

Mr Jones added that while it is good to hear the councils’ positive feelings, this has not been reflected in membership of the society – and numbers at the current time stand at just 12.

He continued: “It is with great sadness, therefore, that RHS finds itself in a situation that could mean it will not be able to support any new initiatives by the local authorities to promote heritage interest in the district.”

Rase Heritage Society was established in 2005 with the aim of promoting and encouraging the interest in heritage of the Rasen district – Market Rasen, Middle Rasen and West Rasen.

Over the years, it has organised an annual programme of talks and outings, as well as arranging exhibitions and walking tours of the town.

Most recently, exhibitions have been held in the old court room, part of the Old Police Station, which is owned by the town council.

On behalf of the society, Mr Jones has written to the town council to see what help can be offered in the short and long term for the heritage collection, both in storage and display.

Mr Jones added: “The society’s AGM will be held in October and we will have to make some decisions then.

“If the society were to fold, the collection could be lost to the town, which would be a great shame.”

• For more information about Rase Heritage Society visit the website at raseheritage.org.uk