Friday, 10 February 2017
I'm loving being retired and able to visit all sorts of interesting places during the week. I'm determined to make the most of the many free attractions locally. One such is the museum called Cliffe Castle in the nearby town of Keighley. (Say that: Keethley!) I thought I'd written about it before on this blog but I can't find any posts... an omission indeed, as it is a very interesting place packed full of exhibits.
It has to be said that the building isn't the most attractive, to my eyes anyway, and the surrounding park has seen better days. It has some lovely trees but little else to recommend it. The local council have invested recently to improve the interior of the museum and, judging by the work going on, they are putting some effort now into the grounds, so things may improve.
Cliffe Hall was originally a mansion, built around 1830 in the ornate Gothic revival style beloved of the Victorians. It was bought in 1848 by the Butterfield family, who had been renting it. Henry Isaac Butterfield set about extending and transforming it by adding a ballroom, towers (one later demolished) and a conservatory, renaming it Cliffe Castle in 1878. Henry's granddaughter eventually inherited the mansion. As she had married and become the Countess of Manvers, she lived in an even grander home at Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire. Many of Cliffe Castle's furnishings were taken there. She really had no need of the Keighley property. She eventually sold it to Keighley Corporation in 1949 and it became a museum.