A grand opening: Ripon Museum Trust unveils new workhouse block

A preview opening for invited guests: Chair of North Yorkshire County Coucil Helen Swires with The Mayor of Ripon,  Coun  Pauline McHardy, the Mayor of Ripon's consort Charlie Powell, with Ripon Museum's Chair of Trustees Richard Taylor and invited guests.(1707183AM8).
A preview opening for invited guests: Chair of North Yorkshire County Coucil Helen Swires with The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Pauline McHardy, the Mayor of Ripon's consort Charlie Powell, with Ripon Museum's Chair of Trustees Richard Taylor and invited guests.(1707183AM8).

The superhuman efforts of volunteers and the hard-working team at Ripon Museum Trust, led to the proud unveiling of their main workhouse block on Tuesday.

Driven by the tireless dedication of everyone involved, the Trust acquired the block behind the existing workhouse museum building after securing over £400,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

In a remarkable year for the museums, the Trust will now be able to develop all three of their museums, including the new main workhouse block, thanks to a £560,000 grant from the Arts Council England which will be delivered over the next four years.

The opening on Tuesday was the product of an eight week transformation led by curator Martin Wills and a team of volunteers. Visitors will now be able to see the master and matron’s parlour, the pantry, master’s study and schoolroom, as well as the original dining hall which is home to a newly commissioned artwork bringing a workhouse meal to life.

The Director of Ripon Museum Trust, James Etherington, said: “Everyone at the Trust works so hard and it is a fantastic feeling when you finally get there. We had a really great crowd, and everyone was really impressed by the building, especially those who saw what it was like before the transformation.

“We’re looking forward to rolling out a more collaborative and engaging approach across all of our museums, with a key focus on the workhouse, where we can involve and engage as many visitors and groups as possible so that they can tell us the stories they are interested in.”

The Chair of trustees Richard Taylor said: “We’ll be able to tell the whole Workhouse story in the proper place, have space so that more of the collection can be on show and dramatically help us to present the stories of the past in new varied ways.”