Blackpool Council is spending £390k to fix the roof at Central Library – here’s why it needs to be done

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Blackpool’s historic heritage collections are to be moved into storage to protect them from risk of water damage while work is done to repair the roof at Central Library as part of a £390,000 project.

 

The material, which records the resort’s growth into the country’s best loved seaside destination, is under threat due to leaks in the roof of the Grade II listed library on Queen Street.

The History Centre, on the first floor of the library, closed in February 2020 when severe weather damaged the roof.

Subsequent surveys have found significant repairs are needed which will cost around £260,000 with other essential repairs costing £30,000.

Central Library

Central Library

The cost of relocating the heritage collections to deep storage outside Blackpool will be £100,000.

The lending service on the ground floor of the library will remain open while the work is carried out, which is expected to take six to 12 months.

A council report says: “The Blackpool heritage collections are rare and unique records. They cover the history of the seaside, popular culture and entertainment and Blackpool’s social history

“Together they give a unique view of the development of Blackpool as the world’s first and biggest mass seaside resort and a world renowned centre for popular entertainment.

“Due to the age of the building, and effect of adverse weather conditions due to its location, the building is affected by water egress from the roofs, guttering details and perished pointing.

“This presents a risk to the heritage collections currently stored in the building.”

There will still be limited access to newspapers on microfilm one day a week by appointment only, while a small selection of collections are staying in Blackpool in temporary storage for use by Showtown to support the final stage of creating and building the museum displays.

Repairs will include stripping the existing roof coverings and removing gutters.

The cost of packaging, transport and deep storage of the collections is estimated at £100,000.

Funding for the full £390,000 project will come from existing council budgets including the renewals, repairs and maintenance budget for 2022/23.