The transformation of the historic Old Library building in the centre of Bodmin will be celebrated this week.

Community interest company intoBodmin has revamped the property which was in a poor state of repair.

The grand reopening of the premises in Lower Bore Street will take the form of a free house-warming event running between 10am and 10pm on Friday. 

In the morning, visitors will be able to take a tour around the restored building. Creative well-being taster sessions will be running on a pop-in basis and the community cafe will be open. 

During the day, there will be crafts for all ages, open mic opportunities, a stop-frame animation project and a lunchtime lecture on the Old Library’s founder, Cornish philanthropist John Passmore Edwards. 

The evening will feature musical performances from local artists and the Belt It Out Bodmin community choir.

Fin Irwin, director of intoBodmin, said: “We want people to come and celebrate with us, ask questions, have a tour of the improved building, find out about us.”

As part of the reopening, next Thursday (February 29) the Old Library will be holding a business networking event from 10am to noon. Creatives, social enterprises and freelancers are being invited to explore the building with its co-working shared office space and office units to rent. 

Renovation work began in July with Le Page Architects creating the designs for the community and arts space, and managing the contract. AD Williams was the main construction contractor. 

The property required a substantial investment to the building fabric to make it watertight, including work on the windows, plus repairs and replacement to cast iron gutters and downpipes.

Secondary glazing is being installed alongside loft insulation to improve the thermal performance of the building, working in combination with a complete rewire and new lighting and heating to reduce energy usage. 

Where possible, the building has been brought up to current standards, with improved accessibility, thermal performance and fire safety. 

Notable period features, including cornicing and certain historic doors, have been reinstated using the building’s original designs. A 24-hour door access system will enable the building to have more regular users, who will benefit from improvements to the facilities such as a new upstairs toilet and shower, and a kitchenette for serving the upstairs rooms.

A set of solar panels have been installed by Clean Earth and were donated to intoBodmin in memory of Terence Beer, a resident of the town – honouring his wish to support local investment.

Funding for the revamp was secured by intoBodmin in 2023 through grants from organisations such as Cornwall Council, Arts Council England, the Architectural Heritage Fund, the Community Ownership Fund and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The grants totalled £760,757, with £175,000 being used to buy the Old Library building and the remaining £585,000 going towards the refurbishment. Among the sums granted were £250,000 from Arts Council England, £150,000 from the Architectural Heritage Fund, £180,000 from the Good Growth Fund, £120,757 from the Community Ownership Fund and £60,000 via the Cornwall Devolution Deal.