A four-way fight has broken out over who will take on the Staffordshire Hoard – the largest find of Anglo-Saxon Gold in the country.
Campaigns are being mounted to keep the gold in Birmingham, Walsall, Lichfield and Stoke-on-Trent. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, where more than 10,500 queued to see the items over the weekend, wants to buy the haul for a permanent exhibition in the city.
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But MP Michael Fabricant has called for it to displayed in Lichfield, after it was discovered by one of his constituents, Terry Herbert of Burntwood.
Meanwhile, a member of Walsall Council believes that it should be displayed in the town, as it was discovered in a field which is yards from the Lichfield-Brownhills boundary, and Stoke-on-Trent City Council has called for the treasure to be housed at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery.
It emerged today that the Stoke and Birmingham museums were together launching a public fundraising campaign to help them keep it in the Midlands.
Councillor Alan Paul, who represents Brownhills, said: “The search was only a matter of inches from Walsall; it’s as near as that – it’s just the other side of the road.
“Several people have commented as to why Birmingham City Council have got involved.”
And Robert Johnson, of Walsall, contacted the Express & Star to express his surprise that the council is not involved.
He said: “To see Walsall and Brownhills being written out of this story is shameful.
“As Walsall has exhibition space, why isn’t Walsall being considered as a permanent home for this incredible find?
“I would much rather it went to the British Museum than, as is currently suggested, Stoke-on-Trent. It’s got nothing to do with Stoke.”
Birmingham City Council’s culture boss Councillor Martin Mullaney said: “The British Museum has indicated support for the finds ultimately remaining in the Midlands, and once the value has been set, we will be looking at creative fundraising opportunities to acquire the Hoard for the region.”
Mr Fabricant added: “Possible locations that immediately come to mind are St Mary’s Heritage Centre in Lichfield or Lichfield Cathedral.
“I also hope that some – if not all – of these relics of Saxon life in Mercia will find a permanent home in Lichfield District.”
The hoard, which is made up of more than 1,500 individual items, was discovered in July but was kept secret until last week.