Campaigns to stop proposed plans for Lincoln’s Usher Gallery

The Usher Gallery, Lincoln – photo by Jordan Arthur

Thousands of Lincolnshire residents have voiced their concerns about proposed plans to move art out of Lincoln’s Usher Gallery.

An online petition campaigning against Lincolnshire County Council’s plans has reached over 2,600 signatures.

The Council has proposed moving art from the Usher Gallery to The Collection next door, while City of Lincoln Council and Lincolnshire County Council explore alternative uses for the Gallery.

Councillor Nick Worth, Executive Councillor responsible for Culture and Emergency Services in Lincolnshire County Council, has said, “The county council is currently consulting on a proposed blueprint for the future of its heritage service.”

“This iconic building, which opened in 1927, today encounters some challenges in meeting and maintaining the modern-day museum standards that are required by external exhibition lenders.”

“The Collection is better placed to support the ambitious programme of temporary exhibitions we are seeking to bring to the county in the future.”

Lincolnshire County Council

The building is owned by the City of Lincoln Council but operated by Lincolnshire County Council, meaning proposed plans must be agreed by both the city and county councils.

However, some campaigners have urged the City of Lincoln Council to rethink such plans.

The Save Lincolnshire’s Usher Gallery Facebook page encourages people to sign the petition and take part in the consultation.

Fiona Hodges, who created the Save Lincolnshire’s Usher Gallery campaign, has described the Usher Gallery as “part of the fabric of Lincoln.”

“The main aim of the campaign is to publicise the proposals more to the wider public and encourage them to take part in the consultation.”

“It would be great if the SLUG (Save Lincolnshire’s Usher Gallery) group could work with the councils and other key stakeholders to come up with an alternative proposal that could save it.”

Mrs Hodges has also said she would like to see an Usher Gallery “that has been rejuvenated, that connects with the community.”

Other members of the community have voiced their opinions on social media:





  1. The Usher Gallery has always met the GIS requirements (Government indemnity Scheme) which means it meets environmental baselines for best practice – meaning it can borrow works such as the Frans Hals and Eduard Manet that were loaned from the National gallery. The Usher is regularly inspected by the National Security Advisor for museums – it has never failed.
    Arts Council England confirmed on 28.02.2019 :
    The GIS team has confirmed that, according to our records, there is no record to GIS refusal for the Usher Gallery, Lincoln.
    Kind regards,
    Michael Shoard, Arts Council England

    The Usher Gallery is an immensely important catalyst for the arts in Lincoln and the wider region. Its value and kudos cannot be measured simply in monetary terms, its real value resides in the inherent ability to help educate, inform and inspire the arts from a highly regarded position. The Collection building is adequate in a support role but does not carry the gravitas of its senior partner. Dismembering the Usher by incorporating it into the Danesgate annexe would be a grave misjudgment bordering on cultural vandalism. It may be worth remembering that both County and City Councils are custodians, the jewel that is the Usher Gallery deserves respect as does the bequest of James Ward Usher.

  2. The Arts’ Council, and Jeremy Webster ( a former curator of the Usher Gallery) think that the security and environmental standards in the gallery are good. In the past it has therefore been possible to exhibit valuable works in the gallery, and there is no reason why this should not happen again. Nick Worth has been challenged about his claims by Fiona Hodges, but is unable to verify his claims.

  3. This appropriation of dedicated buildings is happening around the UK, and has nothing to do with “good intentions” towards the public or the legacy of the collections threatened. It’s just about money, short term thinking, and a lack of appreciation for the real value the arts brings to the public.

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