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An earlier decision by the council to close the museum – located just across the street from the site of the original Gillows showroom – prompted concerns over the future of the 18th and 19th century cabinetmaking history housed there.

Two years ago leading specialists in antique furniture joined a campaign to preserve the collection, with a consultation exercise conducted last August.

The council hopes to reopen the Judges’ Lodgings on July 21, beginning with three days a week: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

During the weekdays when the building is closed to the public, The Friends of Lancaster Judges’ Lodgings hope the Grade I-listed building could be leased for special events. Paid staff are currently being recruited.