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Last Updated: Monday, 8 March, 2004, 10:02 GMT
Plea for national cartoon museum
Simon Cowell on The Simpsons
Children's cartoon workshops are organised
Campaigners are calling for a national museum of cartoon art to be set up.

Former home secretary Kenneth Baker said the British Cartoon Centre in London needs bigger more permanent premises.

Lord Baker founded the Cartoon Art Trust, which runs the centre.

"We are a museum of laughter. We are one of the few institutions in the country where people leave happier than they arrived," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

Political satire

The cartoon centre, at Russell Square, attracted 6,000 visitors last year, according to Lord Baker.

An exhibition of work by the early 20th century cartoonist H M Bateman is currently on display.

Lord Baker said the children's workshops where youngsters had the opportunity to draw characters from favourite cartoons such as the Simpsons were particularly popular.

He believes cartoons merit their own museum partly because of their importance in political and social commentary.

The Cartoon Art Trust, set up in 1988, is dedicated to preserving and promoting the best of British cartoon art and caricature.

It wants to establish a museum of cartoon art with gallery, archives and reference library.

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