A long-planned Museum of Brexit will open in either Peterborough or Boston, Lincolnshire, within two years after “support or otherwise from the local community” was weighed up, The Telegraph can disclose.
Lee Rotherham, the chairman of trustees who has led “locational research” of 50 sites across the UK, said there were now just two candidates left to host a museum looking back at the history of Brexit.
The hope is that the final location in either Peterborough or Boston can be announced early in the new year, with the museum opening by late 2023. Both places returned strong Leave votes in the 2016 referendum, with 61 per cent in Peterborough and 76 per cent in Boston.
A fundraising dinner was held in London this week and a sum said to be “significantly over six figures” has so far been pledged to support the plan.
Mr Rotherham said that each of a possible 50 locations had been “put through a matrix of 14 criteria” looking at size, cost, transport links and ability to hire staff as well as “support or otherwise from the local community”.
He added: “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 programmes.
“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 100.”
The museum will seek to tell the story, starting in the 1950s, of how the UK came to join the EU and then took the momentous decision to leave in 2016.
Mr Rotherham said the museum “will be able to talk to 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 has been appealing for exhibits such as “items, mementoes, collections, archives, letters” to put on display. Its organisers have insisted it will aim to provide a “fair and balanced view of the campaign and what led up to the campaign”.