TWO East Lancashire museums facing the threat of closure could be saved after council bosses reached a deal to keep them open.

Four organisations have been successful in their bid to run Queen Street Mill Museum in Burnley and the Helmshore Mills Textile Museum in Rossendale as well as three others across Lancashire.


County Hall bosses, who said they can no longer afford to run them, will now enter detailed negotiations with the organisations, which have not been named.

The museums will still close on September 30 but care and maintenance plans will be put in place to ensure they are looked after, preserved properly and kept safe and secure.

Council chiefs hope negotiations will conclude as soon as possible and the transfers will be made by the end of the year. A petition to save the museums reached more than 10,000 signatures.

County Cllr Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “This is extremely good news for the future of these museums. There is obviously still a lot of work to do but it is very encouraging to see such robust and well-thought-through business plans.

“In an ideal world we would not have been forced into this position but as we no longer have the funding to keep these cultural resources open we can at least do a thorough job to ensure that they have a sustainable future.”

Cllr Roger Frost, whose Briercliffe ward covers the Queen Street Mill, said there was nothing in the world like the Mill Museum.

“For people to be interested it is positive.

“I would like to know who they are. I hope it is someone who has got the interests of the cotton industry at heart rather than a commercial organisation making money out of it. The council has a responsibility to make sure the investment they have made in the history of the cotton industry should be preserved.”

Cllr David Stansfield, whose ward covers the Helmshore Museum, said: “It is great they are going to be kept open by somebody.” but I do not think they should have been under threat of closure in the first place.

“The council gets a set amount of money and they have to spend it wisely. We know they have a surplus. The money is piling up and they are cutting left, right and centre.”

Cllr Anne Kelly, whose ward covers the Queen Street Mill Museum, said: “It is great news because the museum brings people into Burnley.

“I am really happy that someone will take it over. It is the only museum in the world of its kind and when it is gone it will be gone forever. Anyone who wants to save it, please do.”