Last chance to share views on Dewsbury Museum and Red House closure plan

A last chance to share your views on the fate of two beloved museums with the council comes this weekend.

Friday, 22nd July 2016, 11:07 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:30 pm
Dewsbury Museum, Crow Nest Park. (d23081122)

Consultation on Kirklees Council’s plan to shut Red House Museum in Gomersal and Dewsbury Museum in Crow Nest Park lasts until Sunday.

Under budget plans, the two sites could close and their collections be either transferred or stored.

A fightback by the community was launched, with nearly 1,500 people signing a petition to keep Red House open in one week.

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.

“The family even ran their own bank from Red House for a little while.

“Charlotte Brontë was a close friend of Mary Taylor, and featured the family as the Yorkes, and Red House as ‘Briarmains’ in her novel ‘Shirley. “Considering these close links it is very sad that Kirklees Council has made this announcement when we are celebrating the 200th anniversary of Charlotte’s birth.”

Coun Cathy Scott (Lab, Dewsbury East) also started a campaign to keep the Crow Nest Park site open, calling for the October decision deadline to be extended so people could come up with plans to keep it up and running.

Kirklees Council currently owns six museums and heritage sites: Dewsbury Museum, Bagshaw Museum in Batley, Tolson Museum in Huddersfield, Huddersfield Art Gallery, Oakwell Hall and Country Park in Birstall and Red House in Gomersal.

But as government funds have been withdrawn, the council needs to save £351,000 from its museums and galleries budget by next April. Red House and Dewsbury Museum in Crow Nest Park both face the axe.

Its consultation web page reads: “It’s important to remember that a museum is not about the building which houses it – it’s about a collection of objects that people can enjoy.”

An online survey which gives residents the chance to share their views can be filled in until July 24.