In Depth

Thatcher's true blue outfits to get place in planned museum

Aquascutum suits and signature black handbags will be displayed in Reagan-esque Library and Museum

Mole

PLANS to create a Margaret Thatcher museum in London, modelled on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California, go back to 2009, according to the Sunday Telegraph. Lady Thatcher gave her blessing to the idea in a letter to her friend Conor Burns, the Tory MP, written in 2011.

But The Mole has it on good authority that some in Lady Thatcher's circle were planning for a museum of some sort more than ten years ago. The dresser, confidante, and travelling companion Cynthia Crawford - or 'Crawfie' - made it clear in 2002 that all Lady T's famous blue outfits had been carefully folded and boxed up for exhibition one day.

Lady T seems to have decided that if there was going to be a museum and foundation dedicated to preserving her ideas, it had better preserve her "look" as well.

The Thatcher collection includes the trademark blue Aquascutum suits in which she appeared at party conferences and, as one devoted Tory MP told the Commons last week, "bestrode the world like a colossus".

It also includes the signature black handbags with which she bashed dissenting voices in her Cabinet (until they ganged up on her and brought her down) and stiffened the resolve of world leaders such as President George Bush senior before the first Gulf war ("Don't go wobbly on me, George").

Seven of her earlier outfits from the period when she was the Education Secretary were sold by a private collector for £73,125 at an auction by Christie's in September last year - six of the lots going to one buyer in South Korea. But they were in a variety of colours from canary yellow to green, not the hallmark blue outfits of the years of power that left an indelible impression on British politics.

The Thatcher Library and Museum is being planned by Conservative Way Forward, the right-wing organisation dedicated to keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive. The Thatcher Library will offer training courses to budding politicians who believe in her low tax, free market ethos, and offer exchange student programmes with the US, says the Telegraph.

Conservative Way Forward are currently looking for a suitable site somewhere in or around Westminster and trying to raise £15 million to get the project off the ground going.

Her old adversary, Ted Heath, tried and failed to preserve his own legacy with a museum dedicated to himself in his elegant Georgian house, Arundells, in the Salisbury Cathedral Close. However, a trust created to preserve it announced last September that it had run out of cash to keep the house open, and had decided to dispose of it.

Given the current level of Maggiephilia in the Tory Party, Lady Thatcher - through her own foundation - can be assured of having the last laugh over Ted.

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