URGENT repairs at Barnoldswick’s Bancroft Mill Engine Museum have provided an unexpected silver lining for the new season’s first open day next week.

The volunteers who run the facility have decided that, instead of cancelling the Sunday, March 17 event, they will take advantage of the resting engines to open all the usual off-limits areas to visitors – as well as cutting the admission fees for the day.

“Many parts of the building are usually out of bounds for safety reasons while the boiler and the steam engines are in full flow,” said Chairman Tim Maudsley.

He said: “We had hoped to have the repairs completed on time for our first Steaming Sunday but now we are going to turn a negative into a positive – if we can’t run the engines, we can let the visitors see all the areas that are usually closed-off while they’re running.”

Volunteers and specialist welders had been tackling unexpected maintenance issues during the winter shut-down but it was only in the last few days they discovered the work could not be completed in time.

Tim concluded: “It will still be a great day out for young and old but especially for the more technically-minded, who will be able to see everything in much more detail.”

Entrance charges for the special day will be £5 for adults and free for all under 16s. Opening times as usual, 11am to 4pm.

Bancroft Mill Engine Museum is a charity maintained entirely by volunteers. Apart from some grant aid from various bodies, it is largely funded by public Steaming Days when visitors can see the enormous engine working under full power along with many other working exhibits.

In August last year, the 124-foot chimney was repointed following the grant of £20,000 from the Association for Industrial Archaeology.

Nearly £45,000 had already been raised for the massive task over several years. The additional funding meant the work could be completed in one go.

A further 12 Steaming days are scheduled for the year, starting with Sunday, April 7.

See https://bancroftmill.org.uk/