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Good year

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Sir John Soane would have been proud of them - that is to say curator Margaret Richardson, and the staff and trustees of his museum, who have marked the 250th anniversary in many memorable ways, as the museum's annual report makes clear. The museum attracted 94,000 visitors, 8,000 up on the previous year, and the second highest figure recorded. A wealth of exhibitions, catalogues and other activities took place, and funding from the DCMS rose substantially, from about £700,000 to more than £2.5 million. A large chunk of this was a sum to cover the cost of transferring pension liabilities for former staff from the Soane to the Civil Service pension scheme. If only Gordon Brown could make this arrangement for all pensioners? The chairman of trustees, Richard Griffiths, makes a good point in the report when he notes that the more successful and popular places like the Soane become, the greater need there is for increased funding in respect of staff and maintenance. The Treasury is not yet responding by boosting the DCMS budget. We live in hope.

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