Decision details

lOP&S: 2122055 - Disposal from the Collections of Heritage Doncaster – Libraries and Heritage Services

Decision Maker: Director of Learning, Opportunities and Skills

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


The object is un-accessioned, in poor condition (consultation with a specialist at Beamish has brought to light that the carriage has in the past – prior to Heritage Doncaster acquiring it – been poorly restored. The Rear Carriage wheels not belonging to this model of carriage) and does not have a strong Doncaster Borough Provenance or connection. The recommendation to dispose relates particularly to section 5.3.1 of the Collections Development Policy (2019-2023) which refers to the criteria for disposal from the Social History Collections. As the object is un-accessioned and has never been formally accepted into the collection, the collecting criteria for Social History, outlined in Section 4.1 and in particular 4.1.2 which refers to considerations over care and storage of items. The Omnibus is a large object and would be both difficult to store and very space consuming. This, when considered against its poor condition (poor historic restoration) and lack of a strong connection to the Borough of Doncaster (as defined at this time by the Borough’s Local Government boundaries) make it a candidate for disposal.


That approval is given by the Governing Body of Heritage Doncaster for the decision to dispose of an un-accessioned item known as The Womersley to Pontefract Omnibus, currently held in the Heritage Doncaster Collections, in line with the Heritage Doncaster Collections Development Policy (2019-2023 approved by the Governing body by ODR on 08/04/2019) sections 16.6, the Museum Association Code of Ethics and the Museum Association’s Disposal Toolkit.

Alternative options considered:

Options considered and rejected:
In line with Heritage Doncaster’s Collections Development Policy (2019-2023), The Museums Association Code of Ethics and the Museum Association’s Disposal Toolkit, Heritage Doncaster has contacted the following Museums to ascertain whether there was any interest in acquiring the item listed:

- Beamish
- National Trust – Arlington Court & Carriage Museum
- Carriage Museum Maidstone
- Carriage Museum Matlock
- Stockwood Discovery Centre
- Wakefield Museums

None of the above Museums who particularly specialise in the acquisition of carriages have responded with expressions of interest.
Given the size and condition of the carriage and the lack of interest from the most obvious accredited museums, a decision not to advertise through the Museums Association ‘Find and Object’ Disposals network has been taken. Retention of the item was considered but rejected for the following reasons:
1. The object is un-accessioned and does not suitably meet the present criteria for collecting
2. The object is in poor condition. Recent Specialist input has brought to light that the carriage has had some poor historic restoration and is not complete in its original state. In particular the Rear Carriage wheels are not those which would have belonged to this particular model of carriage.
3. The object is large and presents considerable issues for storage, particularly when the service is currently facing issues over adequate storage.
4. The curatorial team feel that as it does not have a Doncaster connection and is not a complete original object, there would be very limited opportunity or public interest for use in public display or engagement.
5. The financial cost of restoring the carriage and its care and maintenance outweighs its significance or relevance.

The responsibility for taking the decision on disposals from the museum collections must rest with a representative of the governing body (Doncaster MBC), not with museum staff. This is clearly set out in the Collections Development Policy
wording – set out by the Arts Council for England. This states that:

‘A decision to dispose of a specimen or object, whether by gift, exchange, sale or destruction (in the case of an item too badly damaged or deteriorated to be of any use for the purposes of the collections or for reasons of health and safety), will be The responsibility of the governing body of the museum acting on the advice of professional curatorial staff, if any, and not of the curator of the collection acting alone.’

Publication date: 12/10/2021

Date of decision: 21/09/2021

Accompanying Documents: