THE spectacular £4.7m restoration and redevelopment of Skipton Town Hall and Craven Museum will reopen to the public on June 21 despite the latest delay in lockdown easing being announced this week.

The project has transformed the historic building into a cultural hub for the 21st century including the refurbishment of Craven Museum, the exhibition gallery, concern hall and visitor information centre.

Craven Museum has been completely modernised and redesigned, with collections spanning geology, archaeology, natural and social history. The museum was recently featured in The Guardian’s top 10 museum renovations and re-openings in England for 2021.

Craven District Council has invested £3million in the town hall project, with £1.5million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and £183,000 from the High Street Heritage Action Zone.

Councillor Simon Myers, lead member for Enterprising Craven at Craven District Council, said: “We are delighted to be opening the doors of Skipton Town Hall to visitors once again, following this major redevelopment. I’d like to thank all staff and members for all their hard work and support in transforming this historic building.

“The new Craven Museum is absolutely incredible. It tells the story of our district in a completely new way, with interactive displays and a huge range of fascinating objects and information. We can’t wait for people to come in and see what has been achieved.

“There is also an exciting programme of events due to take place in the concert hall. These have all been planned with Covid safety measures in place and will be able to go ahead even if the final stage of lockdown easing does not take place on June 21.

“So please pre-book your tickets online for the museum and gallery and for the live performances, and come and experience this spectacular venue for yourselves. Coincidentally June 21 happens to be my birthday, and this is the best present I could hope to receive.”

Town Mayor of Skipton, Councillor Karen McIntyre, added: “I am really excited to have the newly refurbished town hall open again and I am looking forward to seeing locals and visitors enjoying the museum and attending the fantastic events and shows on offer.

“It is a fabulous building in the heart of Skipton.”

The Concert Hall has been returned to its original architectural proportions, with decorative plasterwork restored and the whole space upgraded for performances and events.

There is a new gallery space upstairs, and the visitor information centre has been integrated to provide front of house services for the Museum, Gallery and Concert Hall.

The first events to take place in the Concert Hall include live theatre from the award-winning Quick Duck Theatre, and Essex Girl by Maria Ferguson, film screenings including Pride, Sink or Swim and Call Me By Your Name, and the ever-popular Skipton Town Hall Tea Dance.

The first exhibition in the Gallery will be ‘Celebrate’ - this will mark the reopening of the building and will also be a celebration by, for and with the people of Craven, with many residents contributing to the display.

Museum & Gallery free timed tickets are available for booking online now at, with combined visit sessions of 75 minutes, Monday to Saturday, with cleaning scheduled between each session.

All performances will also be pre-booked and socially distanced. Hand sanitising units will be available in the building and there will be social distancing signage to encourage people to be mindful of other visitors. There will be screens in place at the front desk, and a comprehensive cleaning schedule will be in place throughout each day.

At the back of the building, an extension has been built to house an education room, research office, museum store and additional facilities, including an accessible Changing Places Toilet, which will be available for anyone who needs it – even if they are not attending an event at the building.

The Council has also recently been given £75,000 from the Heritage Action Zone project in order to renovate the frontage of the building, which will take place over the next few months.

The Council has also previously received a £250,000 Arts Council Capital Grant to support the upgrade of performance infrastructure in the Concert Hall, which will allow for live streaming.

Refurbishment of the building began in late 2018 with the original expected reopening date given as spring last year.

However a number of ‘unexpected discoveries’ in the grade two listed historic during its modernisation meant the hall could not fully open as planned though Craven District Council assured people that the delays would not incur any additional costs.

Danielle Daglan, cultural services manager at Craven District Council, said: “Working with historic buildings is challenging because unexpected findings are routinely made once you begin to open them up; unfortunately, Skipton Town Hall has been no different.”

Anyone wishing to book tickets for upcoming events go to: or follow the Town Hall on social media: @SkiptonTownHall on Twitter and Facebook.