Families crowded into Keighley's Cliffe Castle Museum during its official relaunch day (From Keighley News)
Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting KNEWS to 80360, or email
Families crowded into Keighley's Cliffe Castle Museum during its official relaunch day
Cliffe Castle museum manager, Daru Rook, in the reopened Bracewell Smith Hall, complete with grand lantern
Families crowded into Cliffe Castle Museum during its official relaunch day on Saturday.
More than 150 people gathered in the Keighley museum’s Bracewell Smith Hall for a talk by historian and Keighley News Memory lane author Ian Dewhirst MBE following the opening ceremony.
Dozens more wandered round the former mill owner’s mansion, exploring new exhibits and seeing how the building had been spruced up. There were also refreshments, period piano music and family activities, including designing an imaginary shop and a teddy bear trail. Cliffe Castle reopened to the public earlier this month after a major 15-month refurbishment costing £570,000, and has seen up to 1,600 visitors a day since.
Saturday’s official ceremony was introduced by Maggie Pedley, Bradford Council’s museums and galleries manager, who said the challenge of protecting Cliffe Castle’s exhibits during the refurbishment had been huge.
Cliffe Castle manager, Daru Rooke, paid tribute to the dozens of people – including contractors, council staff and volunteers – who worked on the refurbishment.
Friends of Cliffe Castle Museum chairman, Michael Scarborough, said his first reaction on seeing the improvements had been “wow”, adding: “There’s a sparkle to the building now.”
The refurbishment of Cliffe Castle Museum, a Grade II listed building, had been prompted by the need for extensive rewiring.
Council staff took the opportunity to re-hang and refresh existing exhibits, plan new displays, improve the lighting and restore aspects of the decor.
The octagonal Bracewell Smith Hall, which normally houses temporary exhibitions, has been fully restored to recreate the original design and colour scheme devised by Royal Academy president Sir Albert Richardson in the 1950s.
The Hall was inspired by the interiors at Brighton Pavilion but also by the highly-coloured interiors of Victorian parts of Cliffe Castle.
Since the 1980s, the room has been painted white, but research revealed the original green, red and gold scheme. Decorative details were re-gilded by Keighley conservator, Pam Keeton, who used more than 3,000 leaves of gold on the design.
The centrepiece of the hall, which will now be used to show more than 40 paintings from Bradford Museums and Galleries’ collection, is a 13-ft long carved wooden lantern.
The room also boasts a children’s dressing area and interactive table based on Keighley’s Victorian and Edwardian buildings.
Comments are closed on this article.