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In addition to the recently publicised reduction in the opening times of Museums and Galleries across Kirklees, the proposals now include the complete closure of Red House Museum in Gomersal. If these proposals are passed, Red House would be closed in September and the buildings sold - not necessarily as a museum. Red House was built in 1660 and was the home of the Taylor Family until 1920. It has important Brontë connections and is now furnished as a home in the 1830s when Charlotte Brontë was a frequent visitor. Red House, the Taylor family and the Spen Valley area were all featured in Charlotte Brontë's novel Shirley. Also on site are the recreated 1830s gardens, the restored Barn which illustrates the numerous Brontë connections in the area and the renovated Cartsheds which houses the 'Spen Valley Stories' gallery. Last year the site received almost 30,000 visitors and was recently awarded its second Sandford Award for the quality of its heritage educational services for schools. The site is an important asset for Kirklees and local businesses as a tourist destination which attracts visitors from all over the world to the area. Unlike Council Services which can be cut and reinstated in better economic times, if the proposal to close and sell the site were passed an extremely important part of Spen Valley's heritage would be lost forever.




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