From February 6, 2004

Guildhall chiefs reversed an unpopular decision to close Kingston Museum for an extra day a week in this week 20 years ago.

The surprise u-turn was met with jubilation from campaigners, according to the Comet.

Delighted Anne McCormack, head of Kingston’s heritage and arts, said: “It’s come as a complete surprise to us that the museums budget has been restored. It will enable us not only to go ahead with our planned centenary celebrations this year, but also to plan for the future in consultation with the community and all interested parties.”

At the time the museum was exhibiting satirical papier-mache sculptures from Peter Rush including one of Margaret Thatcher.

The museum had been faced with cuts just a month earlier.

A draft budget had planned to open just four days a week from April to save £15,000 from Kingston Council's overall budget of £160m.

The move would have threatened the museum’s programme of events to celebrate its 100-year history, at least one job and it’s ability to tour exhibitions.

The museum was receiving 26,000 visitors a year the Comet said.

The move came after a Government grant was recalculated giving an extra £225,000.

Then council leader Derek Osbourne said: “I am glad that we can keep the museum open as usual, especially in its centenary year and still reduce council tax further.”

50 YEARS AGO: February 5, 1964

Former Ks chairman John Cannon died suddenly aged 77 in this week in 1964. The former chief postal inspector had been chairman for 10 years and during his term the club paid off the mortgage on its Richmond Road ground.

25 YEARS AGO: February 3, 1989

An old established firms in Kingston was given the shock news it would be closed with the loss of 240 jobs, in this week in 1989. Vine Products and Whiteways in Villiers Road had occupied the site since 1907 but was to be moved to Bristol.

10 YEARS AGO: February 3 2004

New plans for a student village in Lower Marsh Lane were unveiled with 150 key worker flats. Councillors had rejected an application for a 1,000 bed student flats in April.

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