Major deterioration of the Industrial Museum building in Halifax means that Calderdale Council is working with Calderdale Industrial Museum Association (CIMA) to look at its future.
An inspection by Council officers last week found a number of new defects in the external walls. In particular, the bricks in the north wall (facing the Woolshops car park) are in a poor condition, which has led to significant deterioration of the wall and timber structural elements. There are also problems with the guttering and waterproofing.
The building is safe but there is a risk that during periods of heavy rainfall, high volumes of water could get into the building and cause the timber floors and beams to rot.
There are already long-term issues of dampness and decay inside the building, so the ceiling and floors are already significantly damaged.
The Council became aware of the additional deterioration whilst scaffolding was in place to facilitate planned repairs to the north wall. The planned work has now been suspended and the scaffolding removed due to the expected impact on the wall.
Without major repairs the premises will continue to deteriorate to a point where they are no longer safe to occupy and represent a significant risk to public safety. The extent of the cost of these repairs is such that they would require the north wall to be rebuilt, and would not improve the building or enable its use as a museum for the public.
As a result, the Council is working very closely with CIMA to look at the future of the museum and its collection. This includes assessing the costs and logistics of ensuring the collection can be safely and easily accessed.
Calderdale Council’s Leader, Cllr Tim Swift, 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.”
The Chair of CIMA, Tim Kirker, 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.”