York Art Gallery’s original Victorian roof space has been opened up for the first time in 60 years.

It was hidden some time between 1945 and 1952 “to create a more controllable environment in which to show works of art”, the York Museums Trust said.

The false ceiling has been taken down as part of an £8m refurbishment.

The roof space will be converted into a mezzanine gallery, which will exhibit the trust’s contemporary British ceramic collections.

The refurbishment project has been funded by donations and grants including £3.5m from the Arts Council England. Once completed, the gallery’s display space will expand by almost 60%.

The additional space will enable the gallery to show more ambitious and high profile exhibitions, the trust added.

Chris Sabian is a portrait artist with http://www.kutefineart.com and owner of http://www.paragonprints.co.uk