Friday, September 17, 2010

Please Help

Please tell your friends and acquaintances that I have been banned from the Library at Crich for life at the the behest of the Curator, Glynn Wilton. Following an appeal Glynn's actions were unanimously endorsed by the Board of Management. I am however still allowed to be a tram conductor and participate in other activities at the Museum.

I have asked for this to be published in 'Contact' along with the reasons, but like most things at Crich, this request has disappeared into a memory hole.

I think that Alan Kirkman has raised a valid question but I can't answer it. The original letter dated 23rd March 2009 simply said that my work in the Library will no longer be required.

I have interpreted this as a ban on my working in the Library in any capacity. I have not tried to gain access to the Library since the ban was confirmed by the Board and I have avoided contact with those Board and staff members directly involved. I have tried to maintain a working relationship with other Board and staff members and with volunteers.

I initiated the Sheffield 264 Project which has been supported by the Board but all meetings took place outside the Library. I hope we can now complete this project this autumn and I would love to be involved in similar projects in the future.

Following various comments, all I am asking is that the fact that I have been banned along with the reasons is published and then we will all know. I don't know why I was banned and I will coninue to fight the ban until it is explained in simple language and with examples of my unacceptable behavior.


  1. Anonymous17/9/10 21:45

    Look at things in a positive light for once, Richard. You're still allowed to be a conductor. Less moaning.

  2. Richard, there are plenty of other jobs to be done. Conducting and driving is perhaps at present even more valuable than Library work. But I know your hart is bleeding and I know why.

  3. No wonder many people commenting on this blog do so anonymously. I'd be ashamed to put my name to these unpleasant comments.

    Please keep going with the blog Richard and let the 'snipers' condemn themselves. It's seeing life at Crich through this blog that keeps alive a faint spark of wanting to return there sometime. Then I read the comments like the above and it reminds my why I have better things to do, sadly.

  4. Anonymous18/9/10 20:33

    I did as requested and told my friend, and she said didn't 'that bloke' [Richard] write about all this on his blog last December - so what's he bringing it up now for. And if they've allowed him to be a conductor they must be mad.

    I did my best but some people just don't understand.

    George is me - easier to choose the anonymous button.

  5. With all due respect, isn't this just a dispute between two or maybe three people who just do not get on with each other?

    Now that I have been back at Crich after more than two years absence I can say that the atmosphere is a friendly one even though it helps if you know what to expect from a small minority of people beforehand. Everyone may decide what to make out of the situation and everyone's perception may be different but for me Crich is fun. So relax, join in and enjoy!

  6. So Richard is supposed to be grateful that he is 'allowed' to give his free time to help the Museum that he's being supporting for 50 years now? Deary me, what a sad state of affairs. I guess I should also be grateful that I'm allowed to visit a place that I might choose to criticise constructively from time to time?

    No wonder the TMS keep moaning that the number of volunteers keeps falling - the way they're treated it's a miracle there are any left!


  7. Alan Kirkman19/9/10 21:27

    Richard. Do you mean that you have been banned for life from working in the library or that you have now been banned from using the library for research? The one is a "human resources" matter the other would raise questions relating to the Museum's duty as an educational charity. To enable your readers to understand the scope of the difficulty we need to know. It goes directly to the question of if this is an interperonal problem or a wider issue of direct concern to us all.

  8. I have known Richard for about 48 years. He has always supported the museum, if not the people who run it. To ban a member from access to part of what he has helped to build up is very serious and if no official explanation is forthcoming then something is extremely wrong. If he wants the reasons for his ban published then published they should be. Was the decision really unanimous?

  9. Anonymous20/9/10 08:08

    What an appalling way to treat a volunteer ! Shame on you Crich !!!!!!!!! If your face doesn’t fit at at Crich forget it. Richard, offer your services to one of the museums/groups that values the input of genuine volunteers.

  10. Crich/TMS really don't have the first idea of how to treat their Customers let alone volunteers. The place is infested with too many self important tin pot Hitlers.

  11. The Editor - no online contact21/9/10 21:11

    In response to Pete, I have to say the following. You’ve pointed out the obvious that so many fail to, or don’t want to, see. These tin pot Hitlers overrun the place, and I challenge you to find one who actually cares about something other than their own interests.

    Perhaps though, everyone who is reading this needs to think about this situation. Its not nice, it’s not civil and it’s not beneficial. Who is to blame? I know the answer to this - the board.

    Whilst you all sit there reading in you comfy armchairs, computer chairs or whatever you have, just think that these little Hitlers are allowed to get away with it by other Empire Builders who constantly bicker and rant at each other.

    With good management none of the pointed out problems would be a problem.

    This problem has to end now, not later or in six months time. It ends now.

  12. @ Anonymous dated 20/9/10 08:08 and @Pete:
    I feel like Groundhog Day (the film). So here's another repetition: I feel it's all about a personality clash of some individuals and says nothing about the TMS or NTM or CTV or volunteers, members and employees in general. A boss of mine once said that within any organisation you get five percent rotten apples. That would allow for roughly 10 "rotten apples" among volunteers and paid staff and 100 among members. I believe we are well within that margin.
    On which basis did you form your opinion and even more so, how old is it?
    And finally let me say, that I dislike the Hitler comparison. If necessary, could we please use Berlusconi and Sarkozy instead? Much more appropriate in my eyes!

  13. Perhaps it is through my professional job as senior railway inspector, but I am certainly one who looks at the needs of the museum first and foremost.
    Yes, I have my personal preferences but they come second and if necessary third after the basic priorities of the museum:
    1. Historical correctness and as much as possible completeness of the collection
    2. Operational necessities
    That's why I am promoting heavily the concept of a working steam tram. It fulfills both 1 and 2. My personal interest is G&I 14. Yet I accept that it will remain static for the foreseeable future. Also, though I still have serious doubts about 273, I was happy to work on the restoration of that tram.
    And I agree to call these rotten apples Berlusconi's, though I am sure British examples in politics can be found as well (in every party!).
    The other thing is that it is too easy to blame the board. If the board doesn't function properly it is the membership who can (and should) boot them. If that doesn't happen, than the problem lies clearly with us as members. It is easy to blame someone else, but what have we done as members?

  14. Anonymous22/9/10 16:33

    You all make very valid points. It is frowned upon to criticise the all powerful board which is why I did not renew my membership several years ago and abandoned all thoughts of volunteering - now I have a much happier and friendlier Tramway to play with. On each occasion I visit Crich (to see the wonderful collection of Trams - remember those, apparantly that's what the whole place is supposed to be about)I inevitably end up virtually having a row with somebody because they feel the need to impart their opinion about other museums and Tramways (and of course they have to be right). So, much respect to you Richard for still getting involved despite everything - long may you be a thorn in the side of the board.
    Oh, and a final thought - if Crich is better than anywhere else, why are 2, 167 and 273 currently sat in Rigby Road having rolled over and died? Stop bickering and strutting round peacock style and start running a museum people want to visit - or perhaps its too late and that's all there is left to do, no wonder there arent enough crews . . . .

  15. Tramaren'tus23/9/10 13:24

    Seems odd that 2,167 and 273 were ok in Derbyshire but not in the seaside town. Hauling these and other venerable old ladies round on a flat bed can't be good for them.

  16. I have written a lengthy reply to some points raised. It will not fit in here, so I put it onto the TMS forum: : Just click on my name to read it!

    You may also reply there, in that (new) section no registration is required and anonymous posts are possible.

  17. The Editor - no online contact24/9/10 18:07

    I have read the post that Christoph has written, and one thing strikes me - that there is a problem here with someone not having been at the Museum for two years until recently, and thinking they know what is going on.

    Unfortunately, that seems to be a similar issue to other posters here - they either don't know what goes on, or are blinkered to it.

    Take those supporting this blog - I suspect most of them do not know why Richard was dismissed from the Library, but rest assured - there are perfectly good reasons why.

    However, there are those of use who do know what goes on, and I can assure you that the desctription of the Board as 'monolithic' is pretty accurate, as most of them haven't a clue!

  18. @ The Editor: I based my opinion on personal experience in the years since 1994, but excluding most of 2008 - 2010 and conversation, personal and electronic in the same period but including 2008 - 2010. If my percerption does not stand the test of reality or if it is based on incorrect or incomplete information I would be pleased to receive further information. If you wish that to be private and confidential, I trust you know how to get hold of me.

    As an aside, when using the term "monolithic" I meant it in the way of "being in one piece" or "inseparable", which I believe the TMS Board is not. I think that any bashing of "The Board" misses the point since there are differing opinions among Board members and some do not deserve that bashing.

    By the way, since writing that forum entry I have found out another meaning of "monolithic" on Wikipedia (the German version, it is not on the English version). Here political parties or organisations are described as "monolithic" which are slow moving, reluctant to change and with old structures. Stalin's system of power is given as an extreme example of a monolithic system. Here it clearly shows that English is not my native language as that meaning was new to me. And no, under no circumstances do I wish to make a direct comparison between the TMS Board or individual members and Stalin. I was just repeating the contents of Wikipedia.

  19. Yet, in some ways the TMS is monolithic. Its bye-laws are as antique as the trams themselves. The mere fact that we have to choose board members without knowing what job they are going to do is just an example.
    To give an example: I would vote for a candidate with a technical background if he/she stands as technical board member. Yet the same candidate can be completely unfit for say a role as PR-manager.
    It is like the proverbial four favourite animals women want: a jaguar in the garage, a mink to wear, a donkey in the kitchen and a tiger in bed. Get them in the wrong order and mayhem is unavoidable. Each year we as members elect three animals, yet we have nothing to say about the order in which they are going to serve. And each time we elect a donkey in bed, a tiger in the kitchen, a mink in the garage and a jaguar to wear. And we blame the Board for this, because that is easy.
    Indeed: the whole structure of the TMS is not of this century. Then again: typically British, the only country in Western Europe where a minority can be in government with a majority in parliament.