Trust offers key to the future for Illingworth Gaol

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One of the last surviving examples of a substantial village gaol could be restored and used as an educational heritage centre.

North Halifax Historic Buildings Preservation Trust (NHHBPT) wants to take responsibility for the Illingworth Gaol, Illingworth, Halifax, as part of an asset transfer.

The 19th century grade II* listed building is one of only five surviving examples of a substantial village gaol or lock up in England and Wales but has fallen into a poor state of repair – recognised by its inclusion on the English Heritage ‘At Risk’ register.

Stocks on the site date from 1697 and the adjacent old Illingworth co-op store was built in 1863.

The gaol had been on the market but the trust expressed an interest in a community asset transfer and wants to turn the building into an educational heritage centre.

NHHBPT chairperson Terry Melia said: “It is the intention of the trust to reinstate the buildings to their original condition and create an educational heritage centre whereby schoolchildren could learn about “crime and punishment in Victorian times” at first hand, and also learn about the history of the Co-operative movement, why it was created and the benefits it made to the local community.

“The buildings would also be available for visits by groups, tourists and of course the local community of Calderdale.

“It is important that all historic buildings such as this should be maintained for future generations.”

Members of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will be advised to approve the asset transfer proposal on Monday.