Groups fight back against plan to close museums

Jacqueline Ryder outside Red House Museum.
Jacqueline Ryder outside Red House Museum.

A fightback against plans to close two much loved museums has been started by councillors and volunteers.

Under Kirklees Council budget proposals Dewsbury Museum in Crow Nest Park and Red House Museum in Gomersal face the axe.

But Coun Cathy Scott (Lab, Dewsbury East) is now leading a campaign to save her town’s service.

“We are losing too much in Dewsbury. The court buildings, hospital services, and now it could be the museum. I think Dewsbury has lost enough,” she said at a meeting on Sunday.

Coun Scott admitted that she herself has had to make unpopular budget decisions in her Kirklees Council cabinet role.

But she has called for an extension to the October decision deadline about the planned closures so that she can work with Dewsbury Arts Group, the Friends of Crow Nest Park and Dewsbury Matters to think of a funding plan.

“It has to be through grants and community groups,” said Coun Scott.

The Friends of Red House Museum have set up a petition against the historical home’s possible closure.

The petition reads: “Red House is the only example open to the public of a yeoman clothier’s family house and workplace, complete with outbuildings and historic, award-winning gardens.

“It was owned and run by the Taylor family for 400 years, who made a substantial contribution to the area’s textile industry.”

It can be signed until July 21 at www.kirklees.gov.uk/petitions or in shops around the village.

The Friends of Red House Museum chairwoman Jacqueline Ryder said: “We now need to hear from people who have ideas for securing the long term future of Red House.”