Campaigners' anger after council sells Futurist piano at auction

The Futurist grand piano was sold at Dugglebys Auctioneers for 12,600.
The Futurist grand piano was sold at Dugglebys Auctioneers for 12,600.

Save the Futurist campaigners are outraged after Scarborough Borough Council flogged the theatre’s grand piano at auction.

The Steinway & Sons grand piano exceeded its £5,000-£7,000 estimate at David Duggleby’s Auctioneers by fetching £12,600.

The details of who sold the piano were unknown last week due to the auction details being classified. However, The Scarborough News has discovered the seller on May 20 was

Scarborough Borough Council after the circa 1900 piano had been in storage since the Futurist closed in 2014.

Nick Edwards, Scarborough Borough Council director, said: “The Steinway & Sons piano that was used in the Futurist theatre was sold at auction for a gross sale of £12,600. The net proceeds will be used to support the council’s capital programme.”

This has been met with resentment by Save the Futurist campaigners who are in the process of raising funds to take legal action against Scarborough Borough Council following the decision in January to demolish the historic building.

Ron Wilkin, 68, a retired sound engineer who worked at the Futurist, said: “It is beyond a joke. There has never been any meeting or agenda to discuss selling anything inside the Futurist. Who granted the authority to sell the piano?

"It was known to be in a bad way so it has clearly been restored before going to auction. How do we know this is the best price we could have got for it?

“It shouldn’t have been sold and instead taken to The Spa so it can still be used.”

Fellow campaigner Mat Watkinson, 65, believes despite it is a "fairly good price" that the council received for the piano, he says the process was "wholly wrong".

He said: "People are very unhappy about this. We are still fighting to operate the Futurist and we could have used the piano if we were successful. Where has it been since 2014 and who is paying for it be stored away for three years?

"It does make you think 'what else have they sold from inside the Futurist?' The Futurist is part of Scarborough's heritage and we certainly don't want to see it pulled down."

Campaigners will meet with a lawyer next month to decide whether a judicial review can go ahead.