QRH Museum Project Summary
The two current museums of the Regiment will close in 2017 and are to be replaced by a new Museum for the The Queen’s Royal Hussars and covering all its predecessor regiments.
The Trustees of the Regiment have decided to buy a building in Warwick - to house the new museum and its collection. The new building has a historical connection with the Regiment and has exactly the right space for the displays and the storage of artefacts. It is intended to open the new museum in 2018. The Trustees must raise funds to cover the costs of purchase, some internal changes to the building to prepare for the museum displays as well as provide easy and safe access to the public. This sum amounts to £800,000. The Trustees then seek to increase the funds held in the Regimental Charity to provide for the support of the museum (annual running costs) into the future – around £400,000. This is a total cost of £1,200,000. As a contribution to the total cost the Trustees intend to raise £500,000 from the sale of a small number of items of Regimental property. They will also apply for museum related grants. Fundraising across the Regiment must cover the rest. Our target for fundraising is £0.8M. This is a challenge, and one in which we hope the membership will engage with their generosity through a variety of means - gifts, loans, legacies and fundraising activity.
QRH Museum Background
The Present. The Regiment runs currently two Museums - The Queen’s Own Hussar Museum in Warwick covering the 3H and 7H and The Queen’s Royal Irish Hussar Museum in Eastbourne covering the 4H and 8H.
- Both museums have been in place for about 30 years. They need refreshing and updating.
- Both museums are supported and funded by the Ministry of Defence and are recognised as part of the Regimental system – in place in local communities for education; characterised by interesting and valuable displays; places for research.
- Both museums were created by individuals from QOH and QRIH marking the contemporary history of the new Regiments (Aden, Malaya, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Rhodesia, Germany) and placing it alongside the wonderful and glorious pasts of the 4 predecessor Regiments (3H, 4H, 7H and 8H).
The Future. The time is right to do the same for the next generation - and with QRH as its focus.
- QRH has been in existence for nearly 23 years. We need to create a contemporary QRH museum covering all of its operations (Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan), all alongside the same glorious past. To do it around the Regiment’s 25th anniversary is timely.
- Come what may, by the end of 2017 the Ministry of Defence requires us to close one museum and collocate both museums at one site.
- There is no choice. It has to be done. We want it to be done – before 2018 and in place for at least the next 30 years. As we have done previously, Regimental volunteers (Trustees and others) will lead the effort to create what is wanted and needed.
The New Museum
The Site.Finding potential sites for new Museums is not easy. We set essential criteria. We determined that any site must be in a community (not inside a barracks or other access- protected site). It must be within easy reach of our main recruiting area. There must be a likelihood of constant throughput of potential visitors (tourist centric). Owing to financial pressure on local councils, we must not rely on council support - they are simply too hard pressed providing their other services.
- Much research has been done. For the last 4 years we scoured The West Midlands for a good site, looked at many options but saw nothing as good as Trinity Mews, Warwick (as pictured on home page), which was offered to us by private sale in late 2015. Built originally as a Glass works, the building was then used by both the Warwickshire Yeomanry and the TA for most of the last century. 25 years ago it was used by QOH as their Home Headquarters, which gives us a very welcome connection to the building. More recently it has been used by an architect’s firm. The building is in excellent structural condition and gives us precisely the floor and storage space we need for our new museum.
- We are well on the way with the planning for the new museum. We have planning permission for changes to the building internally and for its change-of-use to a museum. We will complete the purchase of the building (£650,000) at the end of March and the internal building changes will commence at some point this autumn at a cost of £150,000. We then intend to fit the museum space with the displays from the closing museums at Eastbourne (QRIH) and at the Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick (QOH) and add all the new items and ideas associated with QRH. We will bid for grants to help us with this process. Then, at a time yet to be determined, we plan to open the new museum in 2018.
- We have a vision which is educational and focused but which tells of our proudest moments across the centuries. We will laud the bravest, extol the memories of our VC winners, and be proud of our greatest Hussars – Winston Churchill among them. We intend that all parts of our Museum collection will be drawn together to tell the Regimental story. Importantly, the site will provide for the future because it affords the space to allow us to refresh the displays and reflect history yet to be made.
- Above all, Regimentally, it will be a place where our members in the Regimental Association and their families can visit, see all that is of great personal interest and more, look at the artefacts and, we hope, enjoy every chance of seeing themselves in context in a wonderful photographic record.
The Requirement. This once in a lifetime’s opportunity to create a new museum, which the Regiment owns, will have its associated costs.
- Existing Regimental funds cannot be used. These are set aside for the welfare support of the members and will be protected.
- There are two parts the project. The purchase and the internal changes to the building – these will cost £800,000. The second is to set up a fund to support the museum into its future (which we believe to be 30 years but which can be reviewed at a later date).This needs approximately another £400,000.
- The total of £1.2m will be offset by the Trustees selling items of Regimental property held in the Officers’ Mess for around £500,000. We will also be applying for grants from museum related bodies. We have established that we cannot expect sponsorship from other national organisation or industry. Their attention is drawn to national charities. So the balance of the fundraising – the target is £0.8M - must come from the generosity of our Members, families and friends. We will use all the normal tools to help the effort – loans, gifts, legacies or other fundraising activity.
- A major consideration is that by the decision to buy the building and to set up a museum support fund we are in fact creating an investment opportunity that will give us enormous benefit by allowing us to organise and run our very own museum. When it has its day the investment will be realised to the benefit of the Regimental Charity and to the generosity of those who have made possible the purchase by their loans and gifts.
Fundraising The fundraising effort starts now.