We ended up here by chance, as upon arrival at our intended destination we discovered that it was closed to the public for a private event, this information missing from the website when we checked the night before. Luckily, a staff member helpfully recommended the Red House Museum just down the road, that was to open in only 10 minutes and because it is the Open Heritage Weekend, entrance was free.
A very short drive later, we were in the car park and ready to enter the Red House Museum and Gardens. Normally £2.50 to enter the museum, the cafe and gardens are free to enter at any time of year.
A Grade II* Listed 1830s cloth merchant’s home with fascinating Brontë connections. Charlotte Brontë visited often and featured Red House in her novel Shirley. Includes period rooms, enchanting recreated gardens and exhibitions in restored outbuildings.
Except from: Red House Museum website
Entering through the Red House front door you immediately enter into a large, high ceiling hallway, a staircase to your right, a small gift shop towards the back and the Parlour Room to your left. Museum volunteers are dressed in accordance to the style of the 1830’s and are available throughout the house to give you information about the house, including the history of the owners, changes to the house and its connection to Charlotte Brontë. The Brontë sisters (Charlotte, Emily and Anne) were born and breed in the village of Haworth, West Yorkshire, their childhood home now a museum and it is no surprise that their strong literaturary history is strong through the entire county. If you ever get the chance to visit Brontë Country, I strongly recommend it from my own experiences, as well as the history, the incredible landscape and as a Yorkshire person through and through!
*Back to the Red House Museum…* So, we were very lucky as a group to get a personal, informative tour around the house by one of the volunteers. Our tour started in the Parlour, moving smoothly on into the Scullery-Wash Kitchen and the main kitchen itself. All rooms are dressed to the time period including the wallpaper, furniture and even the windows! Passing the shop, the house leads you into the Dining Room and Study before the stairs await you to whisk you upstairs.
Upstairs from the landing, you can take any route you like either going from the first exhibition gallery on your right, going anti-clockwise around the first floor, or continue the journey in a clockwise direction visiting the Main Bedchamber, Girl’s Bedchamber, Governess Room followed by the two Exhibition Gallieries.
Don’t worry if this doesn’t happen on your visit, leaflets are available to take around and read room by room, as well as additional information in each room retaining to the history, unique objects etc and if you like a quiz, grab a quiz sheet before you start your tour of the house, looking out for the objects and trying to figure out what they are from the clues provided.
At the time of writing, the Museum is currently presenting two exhibitions. The first is a history of the Taylor family, former owners of the Red House from their humble beginnings, their following success and wealth, to the reasons why the house is no longer in the family. The second exhibition is about the First World War with the centenary anniversary of the beginning of the conflict in 2014, this exhibition details the local area, the people who were affected (with focus on individuals, as well as families), with artifacts discovered in the area to the propaganda that the nation experienced during this time.
No photography is allowed inside the museum, hence no photos to share of my experience, but for £2.50 this is a good price for this small museum, noting that the gardens are free regardless. With the weather being incredibly horrible on our visit, we didn’t see much as we were already drowned rats.
In addition to the museum just up a small path, an additional exhibition is on display titled ‘The Secrets Out,’ which provides a detailed account and history of Charlotte Brontës connection to Red House and the local area. The exhibition is very interactive with audio, displays to touch and games to discover.
Opposite the ‘Secrets Out’ exhibition building is the cafe and education area used by schools to learn more about the area, particularly the local history with audio account from residences on all aspects of life including jobs, socialising, education and toys. The cafe provides hot and cold drinks alongside cold snacks for reasonable prices.