Message from Jacqueline Ryder, Chair, Friends of Red House Museum, Gomersal
Red House was built in 1660 by William Taylor and was owned by the Taylor family until 1920. Unusually it was built of red brick instead of the local stone. In the 18th century the frontage and interior were re-modelled to a more fashionable style for the time. Around 1920 large window extensions were added to the parlour and dining room.
Red House is now owned by Kirklees Council and is displayed as a prosperous middle class home of the 1830s, when Joshua and Anne Taylor and their six children lived there. They were woollen cloth manufacturers and merchants, owning a mill at nearby Hunsworth.
Joshua’s daughter Mary was a great friend of Charlotte Bronte, who often visited Red House in the 1830s. Charlotte featured Red House as ‘Briarmains’ and the Taylor family as the ‘Yorkes’ in her novel Shirley.
In the barn visitors can discover the Bronte connection with Red House and the Spen Valley, and her friendship with local women Mary Taylor and Ellen Nussey.
The Cart Shed houses ‘Spen Valley Stories’, an exhibiton exploring local residents’ 20th century memories.
The recreated 1830s gardens, with their authentic varieties of plants and shrubs, help to capture the atmosphere of a fascinating bygone era. See the formal Flower Garden to the side of Red House, with its decorative ‘flower basket’ beds and rose arch, then stroll along the serpentine path through the ‘Pleasure Ground’ in front of the house. The gardens won a Gold Award in Yorkshire in Bloom in 2013.
Friends of Red House Museum, Gomersal got together in late 2012, in response to the threat of closure.
Red House Museum is open Tuesday – Thursday, 11am – 4pm and Saturday and Sunday 12 noon – 4pm. For information please ring 01274 335100. News about forthcoming events at Red House will be posted on the WYHF site.’
I look forward to seeing you at Red House.