Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Grenoside Reading Room awarded £200,000 for restoration

Grenoside reading room
Image caption The Heritage Lottery Fund has provided £218,900 for the restoration

An 18th Century reading room in a Sheffield village is to be restored thanks to a grant of more than £200,000.

Grenoside Reading Room, a Grade II listed former school, dates back to the late 1700s.

It was empty for many years and the Old School Charity said the building needed a lot of work.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded £218,900 to turn the reading room back into a community resource.

Fiona Spiers, of the HLF, said it was built by public subscription in 1789 to provide free education for poor children, which she said was "an early forerunner to our modern welfare system".

'Living, breathing space'

The school closed in 1893 and it became a reading room, village institute and library but fell into a bad state.

"The reading room needs a new roof and bringing up to building standards," said Gail Cooke, of the OSC, which was set up specifically for the restoration.

"It needs disabled access, a new kitchen, toilets, and there's no heating at all."

Image caption The reading room was built using public funds and left in the care of Ecclesfield Parish Council

Grenoside was important to the early steel industry in Sheffield and still has crucible and casting workshops in the village.

Ms Cooke said objects and artefacts would be housed in the restored building.

"It's got a lot of history - we're keen to see it put back into public use, not reduced to a pile of rubble," she said.

"To see the doors open will be really nice.

"It's definitely not a museum or a library, but it's a living, breathing space. Loads of local groups will use it."

The restored reading room is expected to be opened to the public in late autumn.

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