The Tramway Museum Society have released a shock announcement this evening that Tony Hill, the General Manager of Crich Tramway Village, has resigned from his position. This has come as a major blow to the museum as Mr Hill had only been appointed earlier this year, and was just beginning to introduce some new ideas to try and boost the attraction following several years of falling visitor numbers.
Tony Hill officially tendered his resignation on Friday 18th October, and this was formally announced to TMS members on Tuesday 22nd October. His last day of work at Crich will be Friday 1st November. Only recently, Tony had revealed some ambitious plans to improve the overall visitor experience at Crich during 2014, including such innovations as daily displays of tramcars on the depot fan, and the creation of a new stop at Glory Mine allowing passengers to alight from trams at this picturesque location. It is hoped that at least some of these proposals will still become reality as, to be blunt, the current trend of decline cannot continue for much longer before the long-term viability of the museum is called into question.
The reason given for Mr Hill’s decision to quit his post is so that he can take up an alternative post nearer to his home at Manchester. However, recent suggestions have implied that some of Mr Hill’s instructions for the 2013 season were not agreed on by other senior museum people, and there have been a few rumours that attempts have been made to limit his power. Hopefully this is not true, as plans are now being made to restart the recruitment process so as to find a replacement General Manager, which will hopefully be more successful in the long term than the last attempt has proved to be! The Chairman of the Tramway Museum Society was keen to emphasise the importance of having a good Manager recently, stating that if Mr Hill’s attempts to improve the museum’s fortunes failed, the museum would be in grave trouble. It is to be sincerely hoped that the worst case scenario will not occur, although this unexpected blow will undoubtedly be seen as another backward step for this organisation. Hopefully despite Tony Hill’s stint as Manager being a very brief one, some of the ideas he has injected into the museum will be acted on, and help to ensure that 2014 is a better season than 2013 has been.