Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery roof repair will cost nearly £500,000

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Councilors hailed the importance of the Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery by approving the expenditure of £465,000 to replace its roof.

The Heritage Centre, one of the first public museums to open outside of London in 1874, houses collections of national significance, including several paintings by JW Turner, Japanese prints, Christian icons and Egyptian artefacts. On Thursday last week, Blackburn’s board along with Darwen Council, owners of the Grade II listed building in Museum Street, gave permission for the work.

Senior advisers have approved adding £100,000 of the authority’s own money to the £365,000 grant awarded in March by the Culture Investment Fund administered by the Arts Council of England.

More: Blackburn Street where residents are demanding long overdue road repairs

Culture boss Cllr Damian Talbot said: “The roof of the museum is in very poor condition. Collections are at risk. The value of the Blackburn Museum is immense. It’s a real no-brainer.

The council’s education manager, Cllr Julie Gunn, said: ‘It’s a really valuable part of our town.

His adult services counterpart, Cllr Mustafa Desai, said: “He’s a fantastic asset to the borough.”

Leader of the Conservative opposition group Cllr John Slater said: ‘The museum and art gallery are a hugely important resource for the city and the borough. We will closely monitor how it goes.

A report from the borough’s regeneration boss, Cllr Quesir Mahmood, said work next year would take nine months.

He added: “The work is essential and must be undertaken.”

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