In last Friday's Gazette (06/07/12) there was an interesting article on this vast collection of art and artifacts held by Kent County Council at Maidstone. It appears that the KCC collection is so over whelming that some KCC members are proposing that perhaps they have far to much in the collection and perhaps some items should be sold off that are under used or irrelevant to the collection.Obviously a debatable point with many pros and cons. However, my first thoughts when reading the article was how did KKC manage to accumulate such a large collection in the first place and what is the origins of this valuable collection.
Thirty eight years ago on the 1st April 1974 local government changed and district councils came in to being and many assets of the former borough councils in Kent became property of KCC. This included library and museum collections that were soon to become centralised by KCC. In some cases this was good as old items could be stored and conserved in monitored conditions.In other cases this resulted in many old borough collections being "looted" and their whereabouts unknown and centralised.
Take the Bourough of Margate collection for example, part of the Borough collection had a sub collection known as the Parker collection that consisted of 10,420 items of which there were 7,406 prints and 1,136 illustrations.
One local researcher recently went into the Margate library and asked to see anything from the Parker collection only to be presented with a box with a few brown envelopes of items that gives some idea of what has happened to Margate Parker collection.
Now if KCC should even consider selling anything off that originated from Thanet, then perhaps it should as a gesture of goodwill return anything back to the Town of origin.
Finally, I should add that the Parker volume has now been traced and the research will continue and I will keep you posted.