First look inside Wakefield’s former BHS store being transformed into city’s new library and museum
and live on Freeview channel 276
The council says the new facility will provide a “dynamic, high quality, accessible place” for residents and wider visitors.
Plans include a café overlooking Wakefield Cathedral and a combined space for children and families.
Extra room will be created to showcase more museum objects that are currently in storage and rarely seen.
Library users will benefit from a more central location within walking distance of the bus station.
The project is part of the Wakefield city masterplan, which aims to deliver improved facilities for residents and draw more visitors to the city centre.
The building has been empty since the retailer collapsed in 2016.
The council acquired the building in 2021 and announced plans to relocate the museum and library from the Wakefield One building, on Burton Street.
The estimated budget cost of the development is £16m, with £12m from the Government’s Levelling Up fund and the remaining £4m from council funding.
The scheme was hit by a six-month delay in January when asbestos was discovered in the property.
Work has now been completed to remove the hazardous material.
The council’s museums team plans to consult with the public on potential exhibitions to showcase the new building.
The council’s museums and castles team want to hear from anyone who worked or shopped at the store.
The event will take place at the museum from 2pm to 3.30pm on Saturday October 14.
Coun Michelle Collins, the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “I encourage anyone with fond memories of working or shopping at BHS in Wakefield to pop into the event and share their stories with the museum team.
“It’s the perfect opportunity to reminisce and catch up with old friends from the store, whilst also finding out about the building’s bright future.
“The new library and museum is such an exciting project and we want as many local people as possible to get involved.
“People’s personal stories will really help the museum team to bring the new displays to life.”
There will be an opportunity to view archive photographs and hold historic objects.
Visitors are also encouraged to bring along old photographs or items relating to BHS Wakefield to share with the museum team.
They will be able to share their feedback and find out how they can get involved in the development of the museum galleries.
Memories and stories shared by visitors during the event will help to shape the new displays.