Thursday 3 December 2020
Bakewell visitor centre has re-opened following work to maintain and improve the historic building and refresh internal displays.
The centre - also known as the Old Market Hall - closed on 1st November for internal refurbishment and completion of condition survey work to repair and maintain the Grade 2* listed heritage building.
The Peak District National Park Authority invested £40k on works to the 300-year-old building.
Visitor experience development manager Sue Beswick said: “We’re delighted to welcome visitors back into the centre, following completion of the works and the easing of lockdown restrictions.
"The centre is very much at the heart of Bakewell, serving both visitors to the area and local people. It promotes Bakewell as the Peak District’s market town and supports local businesses, attractions, events, activities and places to visit.
"Our friendly, knowledgeable staff and volunteers are on hand to provide information, helping people to learn more about the national park.
"The visitor centre is also a great place to shop – with quality local products, photography and artwork, National Park branded goods and sustainable, ethically sourced product ranges."
She added: "We now have a more comfortable space, allowing people to move around the building more easily, with improved displays for retail products. Retail is an important element of the visitor centre, with sales helping to support the work of the Peak District National Park Authority in caring for the national park we all love."
The refurbishment included electrical work to improve lighting within the visitor centre along with maintenance work.
Sue explained: "The fit out has been sensitively designed so that gondola display fittings no longer hide four stone arches (originally open arches), mullioned windows and leaded sidelights.
"The neutral colour and quality bespoke fittings are in keeping with the building’s stone and timber, while providing a contemporary look and ambience. The new lighting has made a major difference – lighting up the double span roof, roof timbers and the upper floor.
"The retail specification was designed by ARJCRE8, a design, production and installation company which specialises in retail in the museums and heritage sector as well as in general retail. They worked closely with members of staff throughout the design process to produce this attractive and effective scheme. Peak Craft supplied the bespoke retail units and gondola shelf fittings and completed the installation to an excellent standard."
Local suppliers and contractors involved in the refurbishment included Stanways Electrical and Mark Hadfield Joinery and Renovation.
The visitor centre, which adjoins Bakewell’s Market Square, dates back to the early 17th century. Originally an open-sided market hall, it has had many uses including wash-house, town hall, courtroom and assembly hall.