One of the ‘jewels’ of Great Harwood could be transformed, under plans proposed by the town’s civic society.
Society chairman Lynn Wilson says a charity will be set up for Churchfield House to restore it to its former glory so it can become a venue for community activities, weddings and meetings.
The building was constructed in 1851 by surgeon Henry Ainsworth Grime and was later given to the people of the town as a reference library reading room.
Mrs Wilson said the house is significantly underused and the charity will seek advice and funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to bring it up to scratch. She said: “It’s a lovely building but it is extremely tired. It was restored somewhat in the early 1990s without any real sympathy to the building and its age.”
She added: “A lot of people say ‘Wouldn’t it be lovely if there was somewhere in Great Harwood to have a Christening or a party or a wedding?’ and it is right here.
“I think it could be a real success.”
The society has received permission from Hyndburn Leisure to hold monthly meetings at the house and may be able to take over the management of the building.
She said: “We will try to work as quickly as possible. It’s not just cosmetic work that’s needed but things like new kitchen facilities.
“We need around £10,000 to get things going and then look for bigger chunks after that. It really isn’t used anything like as much as it could be and it’s a real jewel of the town. We really want to put the soul back into it.”
Mrs Wilson, of Edge End, said the society is to host an exhibition dedicated to scientist and former town resident John Mercer. She added: “We have managed to agree the John Mercer exhibit and it would be extremely good if the improvements could be made in time for that.”