Why it is worth keeping art collection on display
Readers have no doubt seen the reports about the Brooke Robinson collection which now has no home due to the closure of Dudley Art Gallery and may wonder who he was and why should we bother, I think we should and for anyone who is interested this is why.
Brooke Robinson was a wealthy solicitor who was MP for Dudley for 20 years. On his death in 1911 he willed the sum of £30,000 for his collection of paintings, furniture and artefacts collected on his various travels to be displayed. As this was a vast sum of money at the time his widow and the trustees decided the money would be used to build the Brooke Robinson Memorial Hall which we now call the Town Hall, a coroners’ court and also an art museum.
To do this required an act of Parliament, the Brooke Robinson Museum Charity Scheme Confirmation Act 1919. Under a deed of covenant the trustees and Dudley Council would maintain the exhibits and display them for the people of Dudley. So for all Mr Robinson gave to the Dudley borough he asked only for space for his life-time collection to be displayed which it was for a short time before being shut away until 1981 when it was found a home in the art gallery.