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Heritage and Health: Returning the heritage to the Old Library & Museum, Worksop
Work on an ambitious plan to regenerate this key historic Grade II listed building is set to begin this year. The project will create a dedicated heritage area at the centre, including physical displays and an innovative virtual museum to tell the story of the Old Library and Museum throughout the decades.
Aurora aims to engage people living with cancer and their families with heritage to support their wellbeing and the local community. This includes an innovative new activities programme, giving people an opportunity to connect with the history of Worksop.
The project will:
The restoration, repair and conservation of the locally valued Old Library and Museum building will make a significant impact on the conserved heritage of Worksop, ensuring its use for future generations. The Old Library and Museum was designed in a Moderne style, using Art Deco and Classical elements, by J. Haslam, a local architect. The interior was neatly divided between the museum to the east and library to the west.
The development of Britain’s library service owes a lot to Worksop Library. It opened years before the introduction of the 1850 Public Libraries Act which first gave the power to establish free public libraries. During the First World War, books were distributed to branches by the librarian on his motorcycle because of a shortage of petrol. This scheme proved successful and was used in the rest of the county. In 1928, the library became the Worksop Library and Museum but in 1932, it had to close because of flood damage. A purpose-built new museum and library opened in 1938, which is the building that this project focuses on.
The museum closed in 1983, and the building finally closed as a library in 2010, when the council began to seek a new purpose for the building. Aurora moved into the building in 2012.
Chris Wanless, the charity’s chairman, said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. The Wellbeing Centre has given the town a central hub for the community, working in partnership with the Local Council, College, Library and heritage partners to provide a wide range of services. Whilst our central commitment remains to support people undergoing their Cancer journey, our location in Worksop allows us to provide a wider range of services and interact and interface with other vital aspects of community, such as heritage and connections to heritage, to improve wellbeing for all.”
Debra Fores, manager of the centre, said, “Our services and the daily work of the centre rely heavily on the efforts of our vital local volunteers. Without their efforts, we would not be able to offer the breadth of services we currently provide. The money we have now secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund is crucial to our longer term vision to remain a key service for the locality of Bassetlaw, providing innovative and supportive services to the community. It will allow both the heritage and charitable work of Aurora to grow alongside each other productively and go from strength to strength.”
Below are a list of useful links;
Aurora Wellbeing Centres
Registered Charity 1166462
Tel: 03000 111 202