Skip to content

Museum of Brexit could be coming to Peterborough

The 'Museum of Brexit' could be coming to Peterborough, after the city was announced as one of only two candidates left from an initial pool of 50.
city centre 2
Peterborough city centre (Picture: Shariqua Ahmed)

After 18 months of research, market trawling and site visits covering the UK, the trustees of the Museum of Brexit have confirmed that the focus on the future location is now centred on a working shortlist of two sites - Peterborough and nearby Boston.

In the 2016 referendum 61% of Peterborough voters voted to leave the EU, while 76% voted to leave in the Lincolnshire town.

Now, almost five years on, we are down to the last two nominations, with a final decision slated for early 2022. Should the museum be given the green light for Peterborough it would be expected to open in 2023.

As well as the high proportion of yes voters, Brexit has also been enthusiastically supported by many of the PCC cabinet members including leader Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, as well as MP Paul Bristow and former MP Stewart Jackson. 

The aim of the museum, according to its website, will be to display items and tell the story to inform and educate people; provide a library and archive collection to ensure academics have easy access to material; and an outreach point for those seeking informed but apolitical support on matters relating to Brexit, especially within the EU itself.

The location of the proposed museum has not been disclosed by Dr Lee Rotherham, who has led the Museum team in finding and appraising the options for a permanent site. 

He said: “This has been a long and involved process.

"Each of the 50 initial locations were put through a matrix of 14 criteria. This brought the long list down to a point where we could review individual sites on a separate set of fresh criteria relating to the buildings themselves. This was a difficult task as there are some remarkable sites out there.

“Everything from size, cost, transport links, support or otherwise from the local community, and council, through to ability to hire - local wage rates etc were considered.

“In the end we have decided that the two buildings most suitable for our needs are in the town of Boston in Lincolnshire, or the City of Peterborough.

"Both of these buildings would match the requirements of the Museum in display space, archive space, and the ability to run educational programs.

“What is vital is that this project is sustainable, financially and historically. We are not looking at the next 10 years, we are looking at the next hundred.

“It is an exciting time for all of us at the Museum, and we are now going through the plans and discussing with the relevant stakeholders about exactly where we will be based.

"From there we will be able to start the process of creating a museum that will be able to talk about the history of Brexit, but also the longer story of the United Kingdom's sovereignty, its international ties of trade and culture and the personal stories that bring this epoch making period of our history to life.”

The Museum of Brexit is a project that is supported by many on both sides of the referendum question, and aims to provide a fair and balanced view of the campaign and what led up to the campaign.