Town Hall Development
The aim of the Council is to secure a sustainable future for a restored and improved Town Hall for use by the local community.
Skipton Town Hall is undergoing a major redevelopment; the beautiful Victorian Grade II listed building is part-way through a significant improvement and restoration programme as it progresses its plans to become an important and sustainable Cultural Hub for our Craven community, surrounding areas and visitors.
Craven District Council is renovating the Town Hall in three phases, with phases 1 and 2 now complete.
Phase 1 & 2
What have we done?
- Created a new accessible entrance from Jerry Croft;
- Removed the outdated wheelchair lift from the High Street entrance steps and restored stonework;
- Installed an internal accessible lift to the first floor Council Chamber and suite of offices to let;
- Demolished the old ground floor toilets and built new updated facilities in their place;
- Undertook internal alterations to allow commercial space at ground and first floor level at the front of the building, including letting 17-19 High Street as a self-contained unit (letting income contributes to overall financial sustainability)
- Undertook a rebranding exercise with Dementia friendly guidance at its core and began implementation of new signage;
- Began redecoration works, including lime plasterwork in the High Street entrance foyer;
- Installed a new heating boiler;
- Repaired external stonework, including stabilising the balcony;
- Begun improvements to the Concert Hall facilities with introduction of new blackout, acoustic glaze, tiered seating, stalls seating, acoustic panels, sound and light system
- Upgraded and developed the ‘Hub’ area to a vibrant mixed use space providing interval bar facility for performances, space for meetings, events and workshops, community use and private hire. Information on hiring the Hub can be found on our Room Hire page.
A public consultation on the plans for Skipton Town Hall and future design and interpretation of Craven Museum and Exhibition Gallery was undertaken in summer 2017, please see below for the visuals of architectural plans.
What are we doing?
- Altering and improving Craven Museum and Exhibition Gallery, and the Tourist Information area with a full redesign of the Museum, bringing it to the ground floor, reinterpreting the collections and fully integrating visitor services with TIC;
- Restoring the Concert Hall plasterwork, including the ceiling behind the current stage;
- Redecorating the Concert Hall;
- Creating a dedicated education space, museum store and research facility, along with flexible use changing rooms and toilets, including a Changing Places (CP) toilet to the rear of the building;
- Installing two accessible lifts to the front of the new museum and within the rear extension to ensure the building is fully accessible for all visitors and performers;
- Continuing work to improve sound and light facilities for performances and events;
- Completion of redecoration and picture hanging in the High Street entrance foyer
When are we doing it?
We successfully applied and were awarded a £1.5m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the redevelopment of Craven Museum and Exhibition Gallery, which, along with investment from CDC and fundraising in progress, allowed the project to begin in April 2018.
The HLF project itself spans three years from 2018 to 2021 and includes undertaking engagement activity in the year prior to the main capital works project, during the capital works and the year following the capital works.
The team have begun in earnest, busily undertaking to engage local families with the rich history of Craven, with Make and Take drop in craft sessions through the Easter and Summer Holidays, taking inspiration from the Museum’s collection to create Prehistoric Pottery, Roman Mosaics, fluffy sheep, investigate bugs and butterflies and many more! The team has also been taking these sessions out and about, such as at the Skipton Triathlon, where volunteers and staff also had objects from the Museum to see and touch. We also took part in the National event ‘Museums at Night’ during May to explore the history of cloth, with the help from the Craven Lacemakers, Skipton Embroiderers Guild and the Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, with demonstrations of heritage textile skills, and opportunities to have a go.
New volunteers have joined the amazing existing volunteer team at Craven Museum, and have taken part in a project to work closely with the Museum team on the Collection. Because of their fantastic work, almost 300 objects have been carefully catalogued and packed away safely, and they will continue to work on the collection throughout this project. Volunteers have also run object handling sessions in the Museum, inviting members of the public to have a look at real objects from the collection, from ammonites to a child’s clog.
As the project progresses, and the capital works will take place, the Museum has closed its doors. But although the Museum is closed, the team will continue to engage the local community with the rich heritage of Craven, though exciting outreach events and activities. Craven Museum is travelling to local schools to deliver free workshops and keep an eye out for pop-up displays of the Museum collection in unlikely places, and for special ‘Roadshow’ style events across the district over the coming months!
The Museum staff have been very busy cataloguing and undertaking a substantial amount of work with the collections, alongside the mammoth task of developing the new interpretation for Craven Museum, with the help of designers, our focus group and various academics.
The Museum closed its doors at the beginning of September to prepare the 60,000 objects in our care for the packing and decant process prior to construction works beginning in early 2019.
The rest of the Town Hall (with the exception of the Hub space and the areas to the front which house our tenants Wildwood restaurant and Skipton Town Council) will close at Christmas.
The works to the Museum, Exhibition Gallery and Tourist Information Areas, along with new extension, upgrade and restoration of the Concert Hall, will all take place throughout 2019 and into 2020.
We expect to reopen our fabulous Skipton Town Hall Cultural Hub in May 2020, with a fantastic 21st century Museum, Exhibition Gallery, fully integrated Tourist Information and Visitor Service, plus restored and upgraded Concert Hall ready for an amazing programme of events and performances!
Please see below for some artist impressions of the Museum designs as they’re developing, and don’t forget to check back here or sign up to our mailing list to stay up to date with how things are going.
We’ll be on tour throughout 2019 delivery various Heritage events, activities and outreach sessions as part of our HLF project, and a number of performances, events and workshops as part of the Town Hall on Tour events programme.
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