Reward for Valley’s gem

AWARD: Helga Hughes, Mike Wood MP; Pauline North and Joanne Catlow with the Sandford Award presented at the Houses of Parliament to Red House Museum,
AWARD: Helga Hughes, Mike Wood MP; Pauline North and Joanne Catlow with the Sandford Award presented at the Houses of Parliament to Red House Museum,

GOMERSAL’S Red House Museum – one of Kirklees’s most popular attractions – has received a prestigious award, for the second time.

Staff from the museum travelled to London to be presented with the Sandford Award for its educational provision. It was one of 37 in the 2010 round of awards granted by the Heritage Education Trust.

Red House is a 17th century wool merchant’s house remodelled to create a 1830s middle-class home. It was the home of Mary Taylor, friend of Charlotte Brontë, who regularly visited the house and featured it in her novel Shirley.

The award was announced last summer and last week Red House museum officer Helga Hughes, head attendant Pauline North and museums and galleries education manager Joanne Catlow were with other Sandford Award recipients at the Houses of Parliament to receive the award from Loyd Grossman OBE – chairman of the Heritage Alliance.

Spen MP Mike Wood, was among constituent MPs from the winning properties invited to attend to the presentation.

He said: “Red House is a unique and charming museum; it is a real local gem. I am delighted that the value of Red House and the commitment of the staff is being recognised once again in this way.

“I know the staff there work very hard to bring history alive for the children who visit and provide them with a first class educational resource.”

During its assessment for the award, an independent Sandford Award Judge visited Red House and shadowed a key stage one class on the school visit Homes Long Ago, inspected the educational resources and facilities and spoke to teachers, pupils and museum staff.

In his report the Sandford Judge said: “The Red House Museum and its garden is a magical space for key stage one children which takes them back to the 1830s and lets them explore that world in contrast to their own.

“The staff at the Red House, supported by the rest of Kirklees Museums, are dedicated, committed and highly skilled. Hidden off a busy modern main road, this is a secluded oasis of learning well deserving of an award.”