What's Happening in Wakefield blog

Historic building has new role

A Grade II listed building in Wakefield is starting a new chapter after closing its doors as a museum for the last time.

The building, in Wood Street, has been a museum for 60 years and a cultural institution for nearly 200 years. It is now being prepared to start life as a performing arts venue to be run by Wakefield College.

A ceremony was held at the end of November to mark the closing of the museum, which is now being moved to Wakefield One, the new civic building in the Merchant Gate development.

Wakefield One is due to open in 2012 and will house council services, the new museum and a library.

The Wood Street building dates back to the early 19th century and was originally a music saloon and public rooms.

Wakefield College principal, Sam Wright said: “Wakefield College is delighted to be taking over the running of the historic Wood Street building. Governors at the college have approved a one million pound refurbishment that will retain the unique character of the existing building, allowing it to become a recognised performing arts venue in the heart of Wakefield.

“The venue will form an integral part of the proposed redevelopment of our estate and will supplement the multi-million pound revamp of our Margaret Street campus.

“We are hopeful that the museum will become a venue for students to learn and perform for many years to come.”

Cllr David Dagger, the council’s cabinet member for culture, said: “I am delighted that Wakefield College is taking over the listed building which at one stage was used as a dance hall. It is part of the city’s heritage and we and the college are determined to keep it in public use.”


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