Museum doubts have ‘hit a lot of people hard’

Calderdale Industrial Museum open day.
Calderdale Industrial Museum open day.

Doubts over the future of the Industrial Museum building in Halifax has raised alarm among local historians and volunteers.

Calderdale Council announced last week that the deterioration of the Industrial Museum building may have to be permanently closed to the public.

Local historian David Glover said he was very concerned that a very important part of Calderdale’s industrial heritage could be lost.

He said: “At Bankfield Museum there is very little scope to illustrate the industrial life of Halifax - it can’t involve large exhibits.

“When the Industrial Museum closed down in 2000, it was the closing down of a whole sector of Calderdale’s museum heritage story.

“It contains such a wide variety of equipment that is not available anywhere else within the area, and some of it is unique.”

The running of the museum was taken over by volunteer-run Calderdale Industrial Museum Association in February 2014.

Tim Kirker, chair of CIMA, said: “This development has come as a complete shock to CIMA, just a few weeks before we were expecting to take over the running of the museum. We now have to take stock and review the options open to us.”

Mr Glover said that only last month there was a lot of hope and optimism about the museum’s future.

“It would be an absolute tragedy if the collection was lost, and it would be a great pity if the building was lost.

“But, if the assessment by the council is accurate and it needs millions of pounds spending on it, then it isn’t viable, and I think that has to be faced.

“It’s a very sad position to be in - it really has hit a lot of people hard.”

Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town), leader of Calderdale Council, said: “We are very disappointed that the Industrial Museum building is in a state where it’s extremely difficult to sustain its future use. Repairs have been undertaken over time but the sheer scale and speed of deterioration means it is vital to assess the building’s future. Our top concerns are safety, protecting the precious museum collection and working closely with CIMA and other interested parties.”