Campaigners fighting to reopen a “vibrant” museum have suffered a further blow after the empty building was labelled ‘vulnerable’.

Church Farmhouse, in Greyhound Hill, Hendon, was given the classification by the English Heritage as the dilapidated museum has stood abandoned for almost three years.

Much to the dismay of residents, Barnet Council shut it in 2011 and auctioned off its artefacts, making a profit of just £17,380.

If the historic building, which was built in 1869, is still empty next year, it could be placed on the ‘at risk’ register.

Curator Gerard Roots, said: “It looks dreadful, such a state. So many people come up tell me how awful it looks. Barnet should be ashamed of themselves.

“It’s very sad that it’s been listed as vulnerable, but not surprising. It has been neglected, it looks shabby and poor.

“It’s incredibly unfair - it used to be so vibrant. It’s an important part of Barnet’s history.”

The building is inhabited by pigeons and damp is beginning to fester on the walls.

Andrew Dismore, chairman of the Council for British Archaeology, accused the council of “dispersing Barnet’s local heritage forever”.

Mr Dismore, who is also the GLA member for Barnet, said: “They are adding insult to injury in the way the building has been left to go to wrack and ruin in this way.”

The old house was once home to the Dunlop family who lived there from 1869 to 1943, and its owners produced hay for businesses, residents and horses.

It was set up as a museum in 1944 when the land was bought by Barnet Council.

Negotiations to sell the site to Middlesex University are ongoing, although a formal lease is yet to be signed.

But while it waits for the university’s decision, the council spends £85 a day on employing security guards to guard the land.

A statement from the English Heritage said: “We will review the situation next year, especially if the building is still vacant and no repair works have taken place. 

“We will work with Barnet Council and any new owner to achieve a solution which will bring the building back into beneficial use.”

Councillor Daniel Thomas, deputy leader and cabinet member for resources and performance on Barnet said: “Minor repairs have been identified at Church Farmhouse, including clearing a blocked gutter, carrying out minor window repairs and securing an upstairs door to keep the building clean and free from pigeons.

“We are continuing to work closely to secure the building’s longer term future, including discussions with Middlesex University."