Fresh bid for Saxon museum in Southend

Campaigners who drew up plans for a venue to display Southend’s priceless Saxon artefacts are set to launch another bid to build a museum in Priory Park.

Some of the 110 artefacts from the Saxon King burial ground, found during the widening of Priory Crescent in Prittlewell in 2003, are now housed at the Central Museum in Victoria Avenue.

Other artefacts are stored in London.

The Saxon King in Priory Park Group (SKIPP) drew up plans for a Saxon Great Hall Museum and Village in Priory Park to house the treasures of King Seabert and presented them to the council just before the COVID-19 lockdown.

Mark Sharp said: “The council have looked at the plans but haven’t said anything yet. We will go to the council again.

“It would be right next to the burial ground. The artefacts are down in the museum where not many people go.

“There’s not a lot of it there and it’s all disconnected.

“People would like to see it on land near where it was found.”

The plans were drawn up after the council dropped plans for a new £55million museum on the seafront.

SKIPP estimates its plans will cost about £12million

Southend historical author Marion Pearce, took to Facebook to call for Priory Park scheme to be considered.

Ms Pearce, whose books include works on Milton, Chalkwell and the Crowstone, added: “We have the Saxon king exhibits. These are treasures of national importance.

“They deserve a dedicated Saxon king museum. This would attract people from all over the UK and abroad. The Sutton Hoo treasures attract 100,000 people per year.

“That would help our hard-pressed local businesses. It would also help in our bid for Southend as a City of Culture.

“There is a underused part of Priory Park, it is currently a council depot. An ugly brownfield part of Priory Park. This is just by the Saxon king site, which is so important to visitors.

“This is the ideal site and indeed has been suggested by SKIPP. This could be used for a world-wide attraction and as part of a bid for Southend as a City of Culture.”

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Mick Ferris

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