Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Red House Campaign - momentum grows

Richard Wilcocks writes:
The Area Committee met yesterday evening in Cleckheaton Town Hall, and received a deputation of people who were deeply concerned about the threat to the existence of the Red House Museum. The public was very well represented - in fact the room was packed, every seat taken. Eight of the nine Spen Valley councillors sat in the front row, listening with what I took, fondly perhaps, to be approval. One of them sent apologies for being unavoidably absent. We must remember that the full Council consists of sixty-nine members. 

Find out exactly who they are, here.

All of the deputation speakers were asked not to take up too much time and to avoid repeating points. On behalf of the Brontë Society, I gave brief details of the friendship between Charlotte Brontë and Mary Taylor, read descriptions of Briarmains taken from Shirley and generally repeated points made previously on this blog, adding that we were "horrified" by this proposal which had been "sprung upon us at short notice". Peter Jackson, on behalf of the Little Gomersal Community Association, using a set of well-prepared notes, made it quite clear that the proposal to close Red House was very unwelcome in the area, short-sighted and badly thought-out. Local historian Gordon North spoke about the radically-minded Taylors and the impact they made in the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries, and in particular about Mary Taylor, a brave and strong-willed woman who had sailed to New Zealand in 1845 and who was treated with great respect in that country. Red House is often visited by New Zealanders. He also spoke about the excellent and imaginative educational resources on the site. Member of the Brontë Society Imelda Marsden added her voice, urging all councillors present to take heed of a swelling tide of indignation. The local press made copious notes.

All of the speakers were complimented by the chair of the area committee for sticking to the rules - and all of them were applauded enthusiastically. We were then told that the 'cabinet' meeting on 7 February to look at the proposal would be held in Huddersfield, and that it would be open to the public. More about this later.

According to reports, letters and emails have been arriving from abroad - including from Australia. I have emailed friends in New Zealand to add their voices. Joan Bellamy was on Radio Leeds's Breakfast Show yesterday morning, BBC Look North took viewers on a tour of the house and the issue has been featured in a number of newspapers. Various politicians are coming on board, including Michael McGowan, former MEP for Leeds.

1 comment:

John Alan Ramsden said...

Having set up a Facebook page
Save The Red House Museum
It would be nice if you were to write on this as well.
Please go on and Like it.