A BELOVED former school building and court of law is being given another new lease of life!
Free Press photographer Craig Colville and reporter Kirstie Dolphin were given a tour of the magistrate’s courts in Denbigh, Grove Road, and even ended up in the dock!
The Denbigh Town Council bought the building and it will be leased to the Denbigh Museum Group to be transformed into a museum to tell the story of Denbigh and its people.
The 19th century building was the original Ysgol Frongoch and, until last summer, was used for tribunals.
Many people may think the building is empty but it’s far from it; the rooms are full of desks, folders, office chairs and most importantly for the museum there are numerous movable shelves perfect for hundreds of archives to be stored in.
The building also comes with an impressive court room, I never thought I would be standing in the dock, it is quite scary even without a judge.
Funding has come from a £200,000 loan taken out by the Denbigh Town Council and will be paid back over the next 25 years.
Gwyneth Kensler, chairwoman of the Denbigh Museum Group, said: “The town council looked at the building and carried out their own consultation to see the town’s reaction which was really positive towards the idea of a museum here.
“The key thing is the museum could be used for education purposes for school groups, workshops etc.
“It could become a very important place for education service in the area and be used by community groups as a meeting space.”
The Denbigh Museum Group was set up in 2012 and the purchase of the building represents an important milestone in the groups quest to re-establish a museum in the town.
Funding will now be sought to adapt the 19th century building into a modern 21st century museum.
Medwyn Williams, vice-chairman, who gave us a tour of the building, said: “We are open for ideas now and open for people to get in touch with any items they have which could be displayed here.
“The Denbigh Archive Group can now meet here and store any archives they have.
“The town council also has items to store here and we have some based in Ruthin Library and the Denbighshire Archive Services, so we will work with them.”
Denbigh is one of the most documented towns in North Wales and has archives back to the 13th Century.
Gwyneth said: “A lot of archives are stored at the castle which can will be able to be brought safely here, and some artefacts are in the visitors centre in Cardiff.
“So they have said if we have the means to display them here they will send them back to us to use.
“We are hoping people will get in touch about items they may have about Denbigh or the people here and we could safely display them.”
The building also has sufficient coach space to bring visitors to the museum which is only a short walk to the centre of Denbigh town.
Medwyn has explained the groups initial concerns but is delighted the building which is loved by the town will not go into disrepair like may others in the county.
He said: “We were concerned taking out such a large loan but with the service we will be able to give, it is a good level of risk.
“Unlike the former North Wales Hospital it is a good building still and has not deteriorated and now it won’t end up like that.”
The group now has designers, architects and a museum expert to plan the first phase of the project.
An open day will be held in the spring allowing visitors and former pupils to look around the building and learn more about the proposals for the museum.
For more information or you would like to volunteer, contact Gwynethh Kensler, chairman of Denbigh Museum Group, on 01745 814323 or Medwyn Williams, Vice-chairman on 01745 817095.