By Andy Hirst

Major improvement work is almost finished at one of the Colne Valley’s most crucial buildings … and without it the building could have faced closure.

More than £200,000 has been spent renovating the outside of Marsden Mechanics and everything should be done by the end of  October with the conservatory overhauled to replace rotten wood and stop water getting in.

Marsden Mechanics now has some great shows and events lined up for the autumn.

The hall stages meetings, gigs, fairs, festivals and has its own bar and professional kitchen so can be hired out for parties and weddings.

It’s home to Marsden Community Trust, Marsden Community Association, Marsden Library and Information Centre, Mikron Theatre Company and Marsden Jazz Festival.

This summer the hall’s landmark clock tower was renovated and repainted, windows repaired and masonry which had been letting water into the main hall taken down and rebuilt on the Brougham Road elevation. The conservatory where people enter has been given a good overhaul and all the work has been done by Marsden-based Byram Construction Ltd.

Marsden Mechanics. Image by: Andy Hirst AH! PR

Trust chair Tom Lonsdale said: “These repairs have been needed for many years but there has been no capital money available to pay for them and community hire of the spaces inside the building is not capable of generating sufficient profit to cover such costly items. Without the repairs there was a growing risk that health and safety concerns could eventually lead to full closure of the building.”

It’s all been made possible due to grants, including almost £194,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund, £84,000 from Kirklees Council and £20,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation which supports organisations that help people in need. In total, £308,000 has been spent outside and inside the building which has become a vital village hub since the community took ownership from Kirklees Council in 2017.

Marsden Mechanics’ trustees are now looking to develop the building further as a community hub and these grants mean they have been able to appoint a community and business development manager, Jonny Kelly.

Tom added: “There is wonderful symmetry in the connections with history because the project cements the building back into the hands of the same community that built it in 1861 and the facilities it houses remain the same as those that motivated and inspired founders of the Mechanics Institution movement.

“Their gathering places were primarily places of learning and culture so having a library, the Mikron Theatre Company and Marsden Jazz Festival in a building that the community adapts to a host of diverse activities keeps tradition alive.”

Marsden Mechanics clock tower

When the hall was transferred to the village Marsden Community Trust was formed as the registered charity and listed company that now owns and manages the building on behalf of the community of Marsden. The board members are all residents elected by the people.

Among the events lined up for this autumn and winter are comedy featuring Phil Nichol, Paul Pirie, Hatty Preston and MC Alex Boardman on September 30; an evening with local crime fiction author Dave Rigby talking about the latest in his Harry Vos series on October 13, Mikron Theatre’s production of Raising Agents about a women’s institute facing a PR crisis on October 22, Marsden Lights Christmas switch-on will be December 3 and the panto Aladdin will be staged from December 29 to January 1.

To find out more go to the Marsden Mechanics website at

* Written by former Huddersfield Examiner Head of Content ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting.