AN ICONIC 16th century building which previously housed the Yorkshire Dales Mining Museum is set to re-open as a tea room.

The former grammar school building, in School Lane, was host to the museum until it closed down this summer.


But its owners, the Robert Windle Foundation Trust, said plans were now afoot to bring the building back into use.

Morris Horsfield, a trustee and local councillor, said: “We are going to re-open it downstairs as a tea room, which it has been before.

“In the upstairs section we will open it for community groups and community use.”

They want people to know what the Robert Windle Foundation Trust is - an educational trust which gives out grants, for example to people to buy books when they are at college.

Mr Horsfield added: “The first exhibition upstairs will be about the history of the trust, and I know the local history group also want to put on an exhibition there.

“Everybody looks on the building as belonging to Earby.”

The museum’s future had been bleak since it lost a £2,500 grant from Pendle Council a couple of years ago. A sponsor gave a donation last year to allow the museum to remain open for one more year, but trustee Margaret Brown said it needed to make £200 per week to remain open.

“It was a sad day,” said museum founder Peter Dawson. “It was the biggest lead mining museum in the country and it had a fine collection.

“It had one of the biggest collections of mine wagons and the most complete water wheel and double roller ore crusher in the country.”

The Kettlewell Providence Mine water wheel and ore crusher was rescued from a scrap man in September 1971 and is a prominent feature in the museum’s well-looked after gardens. It is the only piece of the museum still on site.

“It’s sad really, a lot of work went into the museum,” said Mr Horsfield, who founded the museum with Mr Dawson and two other members of Earby Pothole Club.

“The museum came to Earby because of the pothole group. We brought things out of the mines.”