The renovation – in pictures


October 2012

The Old Library building had not been in use as a branch library for nearly 10 years and up until October 2012 was privately owned. The condition of the building was poor with the old felt roof letting in water and the internal finishes suffering from a prolonged period of water damage.

The dilapidated condition of the building and surrounding grounds did nothing to enhance the character of the area with rubbish collecting in the un-mown grassed area with weed growth and poorly maintained paving generally  contributing to the run down appearance.

Internally the building remained unaltered with the old library shelving and counter still in place. Ceilings were sagging with water damage, block board shelving was delaminating and the old floor tiles curling up. The old electrical supply had been cut off and the cold water supply was leaking constantly.

The vision:


November / December 2012

Following discussions at the Cornholme Community Group meeting some members agreed to form a team who would investigate the possibility of acquiring the Old Library Building to refurbish it for community uses.

In November 2012 The Community Foundation for Calderdale agreed to purchase the building and lease it to a group of Trustees to enable the building to be brought into community use.

An application for Lottery funding through the “Village SOS” was also successful providing sufficient finance to enable key workers to be appointed, basic equipment to be purchased and early public events to be organised.

Further financial support from Todmorden Town Council has also helped more of the main building work to be progressed.

Building work:

January / February 2013

Planning Consent was required for replacement of the old felt and plywood roof with a modern, composite metal roof which would provide better insulation to the building and reduce the potential fire risk.

During January and February 2013, while the planning application was submitted and considered, local volunteers stripped out the old shelving, library counter, saturated plasterboard and insulation including old services.

A contract was also negotiated for the necessary refurbishment work including re-roofing, dry lining and insulation, rewiring, conversion of the existing toilet to provide full disabled facilities extension of the kitchen area and new gas central heating.

February /March 2013

Planning Consent for re-roofing was obtained on 14th February 2013 and the main building contract commenced as soon as materials could be procured. The old roof was stripped retaining the existing trusses and purlins and the new pitched ceiling was formed by the white liner panels to the underside of the new metal roofing.

Following completion of a weather tight roof, formation of the new extended kitchen, new insulated plasterboard lining and new services could be progressed. A new gas supply was also arranged to enable central heating to be installed.

March / April 2013.

Snow in late March delayed completion of the roofing but by mid April internal building works were sufficiently advanced  to enable volunteers to commence with decoration and completion of the internal finishes.

As weather slowly improved work on the outside of the building and surrounding land could also be progressed. Steps and paving have been re-bedded and work has commenced to convert the grassed area into a garden with extended hard paved area.

Key workers were also appointed to manage finances, structure the ongoing events and uses of the building and co-ordinate further voluntary work.

The first events for children organised at the centre are carried out over the Easter week

Final touches:

May 2013

Painting and decoration continues and finishes are carried out to get the building in suitable state for opening. The external areas are also start to take shape with 2 tonnes of MOT (hardcore) delivered and help from local volunteers to clear the weeds and re-grade the soil for future garden areas.

26th May 2013 The Opening Day!

A lot has been achieved by a lot of willing hands but there is still a great deal to do. This is only the start of the story. The Old Library is your community building. What can it do for you? What can you do to help?  Let’s make this a success story for Cornholme & Portsmouth. Please talk to the trustees and advise us of any ideas you may have or particular skills you can offer.

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