A HISTORY centre in Greenock is set to close ahead of the reopening of the town's revamped McLean Museum.

The Inverclyde Heritage Hub on Cathcart Street is expected to shut next month leaving a gap in genealogy and research services for several weeks.

The move is to allow staff to move back to the McLean Museum and Watt Library to prepare for the reopening of the 142-year-old building following a £2 million restoration project.

It is understood that voluntary sector organisation, CVS Inverclyde, has signed a lease to take over the Heritage Hub, which was formerly the Business Store.

The centre, dubbed the 'Mini McLean' and 'Wee Watt Library', opened in August 2017 to plug the gap in services left by the closure of the Kelly Street complex.

It is expected that work on the building will be finished by the end of the year.

Both the Heritage Hub and the museum are controlled by Inverclyde Council.

A local authority spokesman said: "The McLean Museum is home to thousands of precious and rare artefacts and the refurbished building will be an appropriate and fitting home for them.

"It is no easy task to reinstate the collection once the construction work has been completed and our staff are all expert and skilled in their field.

"Unfortunately they cannot carry out the necessary work in the museum while maintaining the service in the Heritage Hub so for a relatively short period there will be a gap in the service.

"However, once the work at the McLean is completed it will very much be worth the wait."

The museum, which opened in 1876, shut on December 23 in 2016, to allow for major refurbishment work and essential repairs.

The council has invested £1.8m in the project alongside a £287,000 grant from national agency, Historic Environment Scotland.

At the time of the closure, it was expected that the work would take between 18 months and two years.

Repairs have been carried out on the parapets, towers and roof, windows have been replaced and areas of wet rot treated.

Prior to the start of the project, it had been more than 30 years since the museum and art gallery had been refurbished.

It is regarded as one of the best municipal museums in Scotland for its outstanding collections of art, local heritage, technology and culture.

The McLean is expected to be handed back to the council by the end of the year.

Councillors will be updated on the progress of the refurbishment project at the next meeting of the environment and regeneration committee on October 30.

Limited services provided by the museum and library will be available from Central Library in Greenock.