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Regimental Museums

Volume 698: debated on Monday 5 July 2021

The MOD recognises the valuable role played by some 140 museums around the country and currently supports 53 Army museums through the provision of curators and infrastructure costs.

I thank the Minister for his recent visit to Stanhope in my constituency where he saw British manufacturing at its best in the tracked vehicles for the armed forces. The Durham Light Infantry Museum was sadly closed in 2016 by the Labour-led Durham County Council as a cost-cutting exercise. However, keeping the collection in storage has actually proved more expensive than keeping the museum open. The new joint administration is looking to reopen that museum. Will he work with me and meet my hon. Friends the Members for Bishop Auckland (Dehenna Davison) and for Sedgefield (Paul Howell), who are very keen on this new initiative, to see what the Ministry of Defence can do to get this museum reopened?

I greatly enjoyed the visit to Stanhope. If there is an opportunity to meet again, I would be delighted to do so. The DLI has an extraordinary record of service, as did the 68th Regiment that preceded it. I am delighted to hear that the council is reviewing the fact that the regimental museum is currently closed. Using museums to inspire young people not only with what their forebears did, but with the ongoing service of local people in the armed forces, must surely be welcomed by all parties.