Five year plan for Red House

Red House Museum in Gomersal which may start charging a �3.50 admission fee
Red House Museum in Gomersal which may start charging a �3.50 admission fee

RED House Museum, which faced the axe in March because of council cuts, could be enhanced with new collections and displays.

The museum in Gomersal was saved from closure after a huge public outcry, but admission charges will be introduced this summer and a working party has been set up to look at ways of how it can generate revenue.

Council chiefs, who have now drawn up a five year plan for Kirklees museums and art galleries, say Red House is of historic significance.

The 17th century building was the home of the Taylors, a significant mill owning family in Gomersal and Cleckheaton. Mary Taylor was an author and feminist and close friend of Charlotte Brontë.

Museum bosses’ plans include a new room guide for when admission charges are introduced, looking into the possibility of holding wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, and encouraging adult education and group visits.

Staff are also keen to add to their collection of items relevant to the Taylors and families connected with the Brontës, such as Ellen Nussey of Birstall.

The period garden will also be developed as a ‘centre of excellence’, permanent period furniture will replace objects currently on loan from other institutions and room displays will be re-vamped to incorporate sound and lighting effects to capture ‘a moment in time’.

At Oakwell Hall in Birstall, staff also want to overhaul the period room displays and hold more regular costumed tours to generate atmosphere and drama in the 17th century home.

The barn complex would have new displays about the history of the country park – which is on the site of the old Gomersal Colliery – and there would be extra function rooms and a new education space.

The plans will go before Kirklees Cabinet on Tuesday.