Future of Red House Museum with links to the Brontes to be debated by Kirklees councillors

The former Red House Museum, Gomersal, which will be debated by Kirklees full council
The former Red House Museum, Gomersal, which will be debated by Kirklees full council

The future of Red House Museum in Gomersal, which has links to the Brontes, is to be debated at a meeting of Kirklees full council next week.

The move has been prompted following a campaign by supporters, who secured more than 3,000 signatures on a petition underlining the site’s local and international importance.

The council closed the Grade 2* listed building in December 2016 as a result of budget cuts.

Last month the authority confirmed that the building and grounds would be put up for sale, leading to concerns that the site would be given over to housing.

Following action by the Bronte Red House Group (BRHG) the former museum, which was housed within the 19th century Red House mansion on Oxford Road, will be discussed at full council in Huddersfield Town Hall on October 16.

A spokeswoman for the BRHG said: “Thank you to all who signed the petition for Red House, Gomersal.

“We achieved 4,500 signatures in five weeks and have been granted a debate. One thousand signatures were disallowed because they were from abroad but we still had the 3,000 required for a debate.

“The signatures from abroad confirm that Red House is not just a local heritage site but also of international importance.”

Two years ago the council investigated whether the museum could be the subject of an asset transfer.

Ultimately the building and two others used for exhibitions, workshops and a cafe were not transferred.

A council spokesperson said: “We are in the process of putting the site on the open market and this should happen next year.”

The residents’ petition said the building had been “left it to rot” despite its strong links to Charlotte Bronte, the Luddite movement and Wesleyan non-conformists.

It read: “We ask Kirklees Council to re-instate the Community Bid to Buy so mishandled in 2017.

“Three Asset transfer (bids) were turned down (one only failing by a single point), the Community Bid to Buy was sent to a disbanded group – therefore was ignored.

“Allow the people to show their support for this irreplaceable heritage gem.”

Red House Museum explained the history of Gomersal’s intrepid feminist and author, Mary Taylor and her friendship with Charlotte Bronte, author of Jane Eyre.