A LEADING Malvern resident has called for a new heritage centre to showcase the town's past.

The call was made by Roger Hall Jones at an event held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of Malvern Museum of Local History.

Mr Hall Jones, one of the original businessmen who founded the museum in 1979 and long-serving councillor, says he wants to see: "A local Malvern History Centre containing exhibition rooms to display all aspects of Malvern past to the public, a gallery for art displays both old and modern, an archive and local resource facility where local artefacts, art and documents can be safely stored and easily accessed for projects, research and displays. Such an archive can be available to the public."

He says that a substantial building would be required to accommodate what has been accumulated so far by organisations such as the museum, art societies, railway heritage groups, Malvern’s radar society and local history groups and individuals.

He said: "Something purpose built is likely to be the answer unless some other building became available that would satisfy the criteria."

He was keen to state that the existing museum at the Priory Gatehouse should continue as a showcase for our past, limited though it is in its size.

He said that he recognised that such a vision would be very expensive and would need the strong support of all local historical organisations, drawing on the expertise of many.

He said: "Malvern Museum, being a registered charity and a corporate body could be the vehicle used to achieve the administrative structure for such a project."

He said that historians, curators, lawyers, architects, designers, administrators and fundraisers would be essential for a heritage centre of this size.

Capital and running costs would be significant, though a band of volunteers from heritage groups would be likely to provide much of the staffing.

Now the museum is appealing for interested people to come forward and form a steering committee to consider options to see how this vision could be taken forward.

Faith Renger of the museum said: "The museum would be delighted to hear from those keen to know more or to get involved.

"If you are interested, please contact Roger at Malvern Museum or send your opinions to the Malvern Gazette."