Leeds & West Yorkshire

Dewsbury Museum closes because of 'austerity cuts'

Dewsbury Museum Image copyright Geograph/Betty Longbottom
Image caption Dewsbury Museum, opened in 1896, is the oldest in the town

A museum which was renovated at a cost of £1m in 2010 has been closed because of austerity cuts.

Kirklees Council voted in October to close the Grade II-listed Dewsbury Museum in West Yorkshire.

The authority is due to close a second museum, the Red House in Gomersal - which has close links to the Brontes, on 21 December.

It said it did not want to close Dewsbury Museum but had to make austerity savings.

The museum, which opened in 1896 features a toy gallery and a 1940s classroom.

Museum Heritage Manager Linda Levick said: "We've had a lot of visitors coming to say goodbye on our last day, which is nice but sad."

Image copyright Mark Stevenson
Image caption Charlotte Bronte often visited Red House and featured it in her novel Shirley

Kirklees Council said the Dewsbury Museum and Red House closures are part of its museums service reorganisation, which will save £531,000.

The council will now see if anyone is willing to take over the running of the building and a decision will be announced next year.

However, if no-one comes forward with a viable plan the building may be sold on the open market.

Councillor Graham Turner said: "The council did not want to be in this position. Nobody wants to close museums but we do need to react to these times of austerity and make savings.

"I am sorry people will no longer be able to access these museums, but I can assure you we will do everything possible to look after the collections."

He added: "Museums are not just about buildings, it's about using the collections to tell the story of our past and how they influence what we do today."

The café will remain open, along with the greenhouse and playground.

An information pack about running the building will be available from the end of November.

Image copyright Mark Stevenson
Image caption The Red House Museum in Gomersal is due to close on 21 December

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites