A final decision has been taken today to close a museum with strong links to the Brontës amid cuts to the museums and galleries budget in Kirklees.BBC News reports it as well:
Red House Museum in Gomersal is one of two museums that will close by the end of March next year at the latest as Kirklees Council centres on retaining three museum venues under its new vision for culture in the district.
The authority’s museums and galleries budget is being cut by half from April next year, and plans were therefore drawn up to restructure the service.
The decision was taken yesterday by the council’s cabinet to close historic Red House, where Charlotte Brontë was a frequent visitor, immortalising the house in her second novel, Shirley, as well as Dewsbury Museum. [...]
Last week, John Thirwell, chairman of the Brontë Society, said it was “concerned and saddened” to learn of the likely closure of Red House, but said it would continue conversations with the authority to explore how the Brontës’ links with the building could be maintained.
But, during yesterday’s meeting, Graham Turner, cabinet member for Creative Kirklees, said the society were “not interested” in taking on the site.
He said: “We have spoken to many organisations in the museums and heritage sector, and no-one has expressed an interest in taking on any of the sites.”
On Red House, he said: “We have spoken to the Brontë Society, they are not interested.”
He said that cuts to Government funding had led to the budget for the museums service being cut by £531,000.
“No-one in this chamber wants to cut the museums service,” he said.
“But, this is not a statutory service, we didn’t have to do a consultation but we went out of our way to engage with the public.
“If anyone has any ideas on how we can save these services, then please speak to us, immediately.” (Rob Lowson)
A museum with close links to the Brontës is set to close under plans to restructure museums and galleries in an area of West Yorkshire.March 31 being the anniversary of the death of Charlotte Brontë. bronteblog
Kirklees Council voted to close Dewsbury Museum and Red House Museum in Gomersal at a cabinet meeting. [...]
Opponents said the Red House Museum building should be protected because of its history and links to the Brontës.
Charlotte Brontë often visited Red House and featured it in her novel Shirley.
As well as an exhibition in honour of the author, the museum, which was once home to a cloth merchant, charts what life was like in the 1830s.
Supporters of Dewsbury Museum, which has recently been renovated, urged officials to keep it open.
The town's museum is the oldest in the district, opening to visitors in 1896.
It features a toy gallery and a recreation of a classroom in the 1940s.
The Labour-led authority said its hands were tied due to austerity measures, and Dewsbury and Red House would close by 31 March 2017.
It said it was willing to hold talks with any group, or interested parties about future uses for the museum buildings.
Both museums have seen a sharp fall in visitors in recent years.
In 2011-12, Red House had 26,665 visitors, compared to 6,679 in 2015/16