Red House Museum Museums
Oxford Road, Cleckheaton
Imagine taking tea with Charlotte Bronte or watching your first ever TV programme on a screen only nine inches wide. Imagine novels and needlework, bunting and bikers. Welcome to a houseful of history!
This delightful, red-brick house, built in 1660, was home to the Taylor family who were cloth merchants and manufacturers.
Mary Taylor, daughter of the house in the 19th Century, was a close friend of Charlotte Bronte, who visited often, featuring the house as 'Briarmains' in 'Shirley'. Her fondness for the house is evident: "There was no splendour but there was taste everywhere."
Red House still looks very much as it would have in Charlotte's day. Each of the rooms brings you closer to the 1830s, from the elegant parlour to the stone-flagged kitchen with its Yorkshire range, jelly moulds and colourful crockery.
The stained glass windows, described in 'Shirley' are perfectly preserved in the dining room. And the award-winning recreated 19th Century gardens, with their shaped beds, decorative ironwork and authentic varieties of plants and shrubs, help to capture the atmosphere of this fascinating bygone age.
Explore Charlotte Bronte's Spen Valley connections and her friendships with Mary Taylor and Ellen Nussey in The Secrets Out exhibition in the barn. What did local people say when they discovered that she'd based some of her characters in 'Shirley' on them? And how did Charlotte, Mary and Ellen react to society's strict view of 'a woman's place'?
Move along to the 20th Century and the Spen Valley Stories exhibition in the restored cartsheds. Relive schooldays, Teddy Boys, dance marathons and street parties through the pictures and mementoes of local residents. The latest audio technology lets them tell their own stories while you browse through historical photos on a user-friendly, touchscreen terminal.
And, before you leave, call in at the museum shop. With its period toys, books, gifts and preserves, you'll be more than tempted to take home a taste of the past!
Red House is a winner of an Interpret Britain Award.
We regret that all parts of our museum sites are not yet fully accessible. Fire regulations mean that there are also restrictions on the use of prams and pushchairs indoors. Please contact the museum for further details and any other access information that will help you to plan your visit.
AddressOxford Road, Cleckheaton, Gomersal, Yorkshire, BD19 4JP
Opening timesMonday to Friday: 11am - 5pm, Saturday and Sunday: 12pm - 5pm
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