York and Manchester-based building conservation and restoration specialists William Anelay has started work on the refurbishment of the Grade 2 listed Rochdale Pioneers Museum in Rochdale.
The £1m project is due to last 36 weeks and will involve the restoration and conservation of the museum which is in the premises where the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society commenced trading in 1844.
The Co-operative Heritage Trust was awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund last summer towards the project.
Works will include upgrading the museum, providing a new education space, incorporating a new staircase, and the installation of a disabled lift.
Mervyn Wilson, one of the Co-operative Heritage Trust trustees, said: "The refurbished museum will be a fitting tribute to the efforts of the Pioneers – who continue to be an inspiration to co-operative members throughout the world."
The project is due to be completed by the end of the year and ready to receive visitors from all over the world in the United Nations International Year of Co-operatives in 2012.
William Anelay currently has 100 staff in its offices in York and Manchester.