The memory of Duncan Edwards has continued to be honoured through a museum in the heart of his home town.
The Duncan Edwards Museum held a grand opening event to officially open the museum, with dignitaries from the football world mixing with members of Duncan’s family and Manchester United fans who had travelled down specially.
They came to see the exhibitions and memories of Duncan, who died on February 21, 1958, 15 days after the Munich air disaster which took the lives of seven of his team mates.
The museum takes the shape of a replica 1936 family living room, with other displays available to show Duncan’s life and career, including photos of him in full flow for Manchester United and England.
Rose Cook Monk, founder of the Duncan Edwards Foundation and curator of the museum, gave a speech at the start of proceedings to welcome all those present and offering her thanks to all those who helped put the museum together.
She said: “I started on this journey with Duncan 23 years ago and could have walked away after completing my documentary on him, but I then met his mother Sarah-Anne.
“I spent so much time with her and once I’d met her and got to know her, I couldn’t leave and wanted to help her son as he’d stop being a name on a gravestone and had become my friend.
“When I speak to children about Duncan, I tell them you don’t have to be born rich or fortunate, you do have to believe that you can, so I believed I could set up the foundation and museum and I did.” There was an emotional speech from Duncan’s cousin Keith Edwards, who said Bobby Moore would never have been England captain if Duncan had been alive.
Nick Murphy also spoke as son of Jimmy Murphy, who was assistant manager at Manchester United during Duncan’s time, and unveiled a plaque marking the museum officially open along other members of the Murphy family. The 73-year-old, who was born in Wednesbury when his father played for West Bromwich Albion, spoke of being on awe of Duncan Edwards and talked about his hero and what the museum meant to him.
He said: “A journalist once said that Duncan Edwards cruised through defenders like a dreadnought and asking how good he was is a difficult question to answer.
“He was so good, he could have played anywhere on the pitch, including in goal if you’d asked, because he just loved football. This museum is just brilliant and I think what Rose has done is brilliant for the community as you will get more visitors coming here to see this.” The event was invitation-only, with local dignitaries mixing with club representatives in a social-distanced setting. Dudley North MP Marco Longhi was invited as the local member of parliament and spoke about what it meant for Dudley to house the museum.
He said: “The fact that people like Pele say he was one of the greatest footballers of all time just says a lot and I think Dudley can be proud to have produced such a talented young man.
“I would encourage as many people as possible to come and see this museum as it’s a treasure trove of Duncan and his family and it’s fantastic to see it here.”
The museum is above Black Country T-shirts on Castle Street and will be open every day of the week except Sundays. Entry is free, but must be booked in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org