Council to help museum that time forgot

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A MUSEUM which closed 14 years ago looks set to be relaunched with the support of volunteers and taxpayers’ money.

Calderdale Industrial Museum in Halifax closed in 2000 after running costs became too great for Calderdale Council, although the collection inside the building continues to be cared for by volunteers and the council’s Museums Service.

A plan to secure the future of the museum, which is adjacent to the Piece Hall, will be discussed by the Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday February 26.

Cabinet members will be asked to approve the transfer of the museum to the Calderdale Industrial Museum Association (CIMA), under licence.

A group of volunteers formed CIMA in 2011 to work with the Council to make sure the public could continue to enjoy the Museum’s collection.

The association now has 93 members and has held regular open days at the museum which attracted around 1,700 visitors last year.

The licence agreement will allow CIMA to continue to care for and restore the exhibits and to open the museum to the public more often. It will be granted for five years, with a review after three years.

Responsibility for the Museum will be shared by the Council and CIMA.

The Council will repair and maintain the external parts of the building whereas CIMA will undertake any internal repairs and maintenance which is needed.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for communities, Councillor Steve Sweeney said: “The Industrial Revolution shaped many towns across West Yorkshire and the evidence can still be seen today. The Calderdale Industrial Museum provides an important link for our community between the present and the past.

“I am absolutely delighted that CIMA, with its knowledgeable and dedicated group of volunteers, is able to take on the management of the museum so that future generations can visit and learn about our fascinating heritage.”

Building work to the value of £170,000 to repair and renew areas of the interior and exterior of the museum has been planned. This will include a new staircase which will be installed within the museum to make sure that all areas are accessible, including the top floor which is currently unusable.

The Council will provide £120,000 towards the cost of the works from existing budgets. The remaining £50,000 has been allocated to CIMA by the Green Business Network, funded by the Land Fill Tax Grant. The Council will also provide an annual contribution of between £20,000 and £25,000 towards running costs.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for economy and environment, Councillor Barry Collins said: “The Industrial Museum is a much loved feature of the town and I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of the volunteers at CIMA who have worked tirelessly to keep it open to the public. As a near neighbour to the Piece Hall and the new Central Library, the museum fits perfectly within our plans to reinvigorate and celebrate the buildings which are such a vital part of our heritage.”

Chair of CIMA, Tim Kirker, said: “This is great news for the museum and the start of an exciting new phase for CIMA.

“Whist work progresses on the Library and the Piece Hall, we will be working in the museum so that it can be re-launched in 2016, when these two major developments are completed. With the Council’s support now turned into a formal agreement, and with generous support from Green Business Network, we can increase our efforts to raise funds and recruit new members. If you can help, or you would like to join us, please visit www.calderdaleindustrial.co.uk or call 01422 823966.”