What’s next for Red House?

Gordon North and Peter Jackson
Gordon North and Peter Jackson

RED House Museum’s protected status could be raised by the Secretary of State.

Local historian Gillian Cookson has applied to English Heritage to bring the building up from a Grade II listed because of its historical and architectural significance.

She said: “At the moment the building is under graded. Grade II is the lowest grant and it is substantially unaltered.

“Sometimes it means that grant aid is available for work to the building and it can give it extra protection and security. If, for example, Kirklees did try to sell it off for commercial use, it would have to be treated with extra care.

“I don’t know whether it will make any difference in day to day practical terms but it may just alert people to how special the building is.”

Coun Margaret Bates (Con, Liv/Gom) said ideas had been flowing in from the public about how to make more of the museum since it was saved from closure last week, following a public outcry and campaign by the Spenborough Guardian.

Kirklees had announced plans to axe it under budget cuts, but all political parties have now rejected the idea.

Coun Bates said: “Somebody said they would like to get a cup of tea there, so is there somebody out there who would like to set up a tea shop? I think we are going to look at a minimum entry fee, and there was the suggestion of a season ticket.

“I have had lots of letters and emails – the ideas that have come forward in this short time are wonderful.”

Kirklees Brontë Society member Imelda Marsden said one idea was to set up a Friends of Red House group to support the museum and run events.

Gordon North, vice chairman of Spen Valley Civic Society, said the ideas would be discussed with Red House staff and Kirklees Council.

He said: “Red House has been under-marketed and under used in the past and there is tremendous potential there. It is a great opportunity to see how we have gone wrong in the past and get it right.”