A glimpse of a former age

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The doors to the district’s rich industrial past were again opened to the public for the first time in more than 10 years.

Calderdale Industrial Museum in the shadow of the historic Halifax Piece Hall and Square Chapel was open for guided tours.

People were shown exhibits from Calderdale firms which became household names in their specialised fields.

The Calderdale Industrial Museum Association which is working to reopen the tourist attraction, organised the open day.

The association has more than 100 members and has positive support from Calderdale Council which owns the mothballed museum.

It is hoped a deal will result in the association running of the museum backed with grants.

The Mayor of Calderdale John Hardy said financial backing had to be found for what is a prized asset.

“We are trying to promote Calderdale for its heritage and historic buildings and anything I can do to push this on I will do,” he said.

Sue Pooley, of Todmorden, said the museum was fantastic.

“I am so pleased a group of people are trying to bring something so valuable back to life.”

Andrew Lane, also of Todmorden, has an interest in engineering and said the museum was a treasure of Calderdale.

“And, the building is fascinating in itself.”

CIMA committee member Tim Kirker said the association had made rapid progress since being formed just over a year ago and now planned to form a limited company and gain charitable status.

If legal loopholes could be sorted with the council he was confident the association could run a thriving museum and make repairs to the building.

Exhibits chart the journey from water wheels to electric power and also feature textile history and manufacturing companies.

A spinning jenny is one of only a handful of its kind in the world and it was textiles which led to the development of the machine tool industry for which Halifax became world famous.

Association chairman Lyndon Shearman said visitor comments were marvellous.

He brought along his own portable steam engine as a working exhibit which dates from the 1860s.

Eventually, he hopes the museum’s exhibits will again be seen working.

Former mayor of Calderdale and CIMA member Chris O’Connor said the group was determined to succeed.

“We want the museum back on its feet for the people of Calderdale and wider afield,” he said.

It opened in 1985 and closed in 2000.