Here’s an afternoon out for history buffs.

There has been quite a bit of publicity surrounding the re-opening of the stunning Piece Hall in Halifax but people may not be aware that Calderdale Industrial Museum next door has also re-opened.

This award-winning museum was set up by the council in the mid 1980s, attracting tens of thousands of visitors each year but was closed in 2000 as falling budgets could no longer keep up with the high running costs.

But now a bunch of enthusiastic volunteers has come together and persuaded the council to let them re-open the museum and get the collection of historic machinery running again.

The council has shown its support for the project by allocating funds to have the building repaired and decorated. The museum now takes its place in what is becoming Halifax’s cultural quarter alongside the Square Chapel, Eureka! and Halifax Minster as well as the Piece Hall and library.

Highlights of the collection include a very rare, original example of James Hargreaves’ spinning jenny whose invention was a key factor in the Industrial Revolution. The development of power for industry is illustrated with a water wheel, steam-engines spanning 150 years, electrical power generation and an internal combustion engine.

Industries for which Halifax was world famous are well represented – worsted cloth production, carpet weaving, machine tools, wire drawing, toffee and sweet making, washing machines, cats’ eyes and much more.

Volunteers are working to develop a new entrance, reception and shop area with support from local businesses, notably D3 Design and Display of Elland. Plans are also being worked on for a new education and conference room with funding from the Halifax Bank. This will provide a facility that other organisations can hire for school visits or for meetings.

Chair of Calderdale Industrial Museum Association Tim Kirker said: ” Opening the museum to the public after 17 years is a massive milestone and visitor numbers are very encouraging. But if we are to sustain this achievement and increase our opening times we need visitors to keep coming and we need to increase our pool of volunteers. Without them none of this would be possible.”

The museum is now open every Saturday from 10am until 4pm (with last entries at 3.30pm). There is an entry charge of £5 (or £4 for concessions) with accompanied children (up to 16) free.

Anybody interesting in helping in any way can contact CIMA via, phone the museum on 01422 384721 or check the website at . The museum is on Square Road, HX1 1QG, about 200 yards from the station.