Gym ‘fit for purpose’ say council leaders

COUNCILLORS have given the go-ahead for a former gymnasium to be turned into a modern museum store.

They hope to begin moving thousands of artifacts from moth-eaten dust-filled rooms into the new space at Spring Hall Mansion, Halifax, in the autumn.

It is expected to cost about £100,000 to convert the gym, which was built in the 1950s.

An extra floor will be added along with security measures.

Another £49,000 will be needed to transfer the furniture, art, domestic, social and industrial paraphernalia, which has been kept for years in the old swimming pool at Sowerby Bridge and a warehouse next to the Piece Hall.

The warehouse is to be converted into a community centre run in connection with Square Chapel.

Community services spokeswoman Pauline Nash (Lib-Dem, Skircoat) told Calderdale Council Cabinet there had been a thorough search for replacement storage space.

As well as keeping the artifacts safe and secure, it will be easier to make available items for display.

Councillor Nash said the new store would meet nationally-agreed standards for care and conservation but it was only a medium-term solution to the problem of housing the council’s huge store of museum assets.

Because Spring Hall was gifted to the town for sport and recreational use, an application would have to be made to vary restrictive covenant on the gym, the cabinet was told.

The gym was used as rehearsal space by Northern Ballet in the 1990s.