IT has been hidden from view for at least 60 years – but now the original roof of a York tourist attraction has been opened up again.

The Victorian wooden roof work at York Art Gallery, which is undergoing an £8 million facelift, was concealed between 1945 and 1952 to help show works of art in a “controlled environment”.

Contractors at the Exhibition Square gallery have now removed the false ceiling to show the full extent of the roof space, which will become part of the Centre for British Studio Ceramics when the attraction opens in spring 2015 following its refurbishment.

The roof space was part of the original Victorian building which opened in 1879 and became the City Art Gallery 13 years later. It is to be converted into a mezzanine gallery alongside a new first-floor south gallery, adding 450m of room to show the building’s ceramics collections which are ranked as the best in the world.

Janet Barnes, York Museums Trust chief executive, said: “From the very start of our planning for the gallery’s development, it was always our aim to remove the false ceiling and show off the original roof work.

“It is a fantastic space and will make a dramatic impact when visitors first walk into the new-look gallery.”

The development includes a suite of three ground-floor galleries to show “more ambitious and high-profile collections”, offering 60 per cent more exhibition space than the gallery offered before it closed on New Year’s Eve, more learning space and new gardens linking the gallery to the Museum Gardens.