LARGE cranes are seemingly performing a large-scale magic trick in the centre of Blackburn.
Restoration work to Blackburn Central Library has seen huge slabs of concrete cladding removed to reveal the beautiful building’s original 1920s facade underneath.
The stone columns were added to the Town Hall Street building in 1975, to update the building after it was decided that it would be used as the location of the new library.
Before 1975, the site in Town Hall Street was home to Blackburn’s premier department store, the Co-op Emporium that sold everything from groceries to footwear and furnishings.
The Emporium was opened in 1930 after the Blackburn Industrial Co-op, Daisyfield, Grimshaw Park and Industrial Bees Co-ops merged in 1920.
When the department store moved into Ainsworth Street in 1970, the vacant building was seen as the perfect home for Blackburn’s new library.
Architects transformed the ediface by adding the imposing columns of stone cladding so that only the ornamental details and long square windows of the original Emporium were left on show.
The £2 million restoration, which has been budgeted for by the council, will see the building revert back to its former self and any damage to the stone features will be repaired.
It is hoped that at the end of the project, the library will once again have a fantastic frontage. Damian Talbot, executive member for leisure, culture and young people said: “The library is a landmark building in this conservation area and it's tremendous to have the opportunity to bring it back to its original glory. I look forward to seeing the complete transformation.”