Large two-storey house
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Red House in Gomersal, West Yorkshire, England was built in 1660 and renovated in the Georgian era. After 1974 it was used as a museum that closed to the public at the end of 2016. It is a Grade II* listed building.

History


see caption
Georgian front door
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Red House was built by William Taylor whose descendants owned it until 1920. The Taylor family had lived in Gomersal for more than a century when in 1660, William Taylor built a brick house next to the old one. The family were farmers and clothiers who developed their business into cloth finishing and became merchants.[1]

The old house was standing in 1713 and its surrounding workshops contained items for cloth manufacture. The old house was probably demolished when the barn to the west of the house and coach house were built in the mid-18th century.[1] The house is constructed of red brick, unusual in a village built of local sandstone, and consequently was named the Red House. The exterior and interior were remodelled during the 18th century, and in 1920 the parlour and dining room windows were enlarged.[1]

The house was Grade II* listed in January 1967 for its historic, industrial and literary interest and because it “contains some good survivals of the Georgian period, including a staircase, fireplaces and windows, embedded in a late C17 core.”[1] Spenborough Council bought the house in 1969 and it opened as a museum five years later.[1]

Architecture


The two-storey house is built of red brick with stone quoins and has a stone slate roof that is hipped at the front and has four gables to the rear. The doorway is off-centre and has a sash window and a canted bay window to either side. The upper storey has three double and two single sash windows. The rear wall with four gables was rebuilt between 1995 and 1997. The entrance hall contains an 18th-century staircase with slender wooden balusters leading to a galleried landing of the same period.[1]

A two-storey stone barn with a stone slate roof and cart entrance is situated to the west of the house. The stone coach house has four open-fronted arches. Its interior has been restored.[1]

Museum


While used as a museum, the house was decorated and furnished to suggest its appearance during the 1830s when Joshua Taylor, a woollen cloth manufacturer who owned a mill at Hunsworth near Cleckheaton, and his wife Anne and their six children were living there.[2] Displays in the parlour, dining room, study, governess’ room, scullery, kitchen and bedchambers are recreations of the 1830s era, utilising 19th-century furniture. The dining room contains stained glass windows with portraits of William Shakespeare and John Milton. Several rooms contain 18th-century hob grates or iron fire grates with integral ledges for heating food in pots or pans. As a result of government funding cuts, Kirklees Council closed the museum on 21 December 2016; its contents were stored or dispersed.

Visitors


Charlotte Brontë, who was a pupil at Roe Head with Martha and Mary TaylorMary Taylor (1817–1893), an early advocate for women's rights, was born in Gomersal in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. , the daughters of Joshua Taylor, a banker and wool merchant, was also a visitor. She immortalised the family as the Yorkes and the house as Briarmains in her novel Shirley.[3][2]

Citations



Bibliography


Alexander, C., & Smith, M. (2011). Oxford Companion to the Brontës. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780198662181.001.0001/acref-9780198662181-e-1234?rskey=OwbP5u&result=10
Hahn, D., & Robins, N. (2008). The Oxford Guide to Literary Britain & Ireland (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.
Historic England, H. (n.d.). Red House (1135404) [database]. Retrieved from https://HistoricEngland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1135404