Clarke Hall ‘heartbreak’

Author Joanne Harris pictured at her home at Almondbury, Huddersfield....16th May 2012 Picture by Simon Hulme
Author Joanne Harris pictured at her home at Almondbury, Huddersfield....16th May 2012 Picture by Simon Hulme
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THE decision to close Clarke Hall has sparked outrage among politicians and supporters.

Wakefield Council has announced the 17th century living museum will be sold after attempts to save it failed.

Clarke Hall Summer history day'Clarke Hall with visitors

Clarke Hall Summer history day'Clarke Hall with visitors

Morley and Outwood MP Ed Balls called the decision “very sad” and praised staff and volunteers at Clarke Hall for helping to educate generations of school children.

He said: “Unfortunately in these difficult economic times, Wakefield Council have been put in an impossible position. It’s a real shame that a new organisation could not be found to run it.

“I’ll be continuing to press Wakefield Council to find a suitable long-term solution for such an important 
local landmark.”

Former Wakefield MP David Hinchliffe, who holds a masters degree in local history, said he would support any attempts to save it.

He said: “Clarke Hall is a tremendous facility and I would be very sorry to see it close.

“If there is any way I could support or help it to remain open then I will.”

Former Wakefield Girls’ High School pupil, Joanne Harris, who rose to fame with her novel Chocolat, supported a campaign by the Friends of Clarke Hall to save the grade-II listed museum.

She said: “It’s heartbreaking to hear that Clarke Hall is having to close. I have so many wonderful memories of the place and it seems a terrible mistake to deny its unique experience to a new generation of young people.”

Wakefield Council is now preparing to sell the hall, on Aberford Road.

Lisa Dodd, service director for sport and culture, said: “The objects displayed and used for the interpretation of the history of Clarke Hall are made up of a combination of loans from individuals and organisations (including the Friend’s of Clarke Hall) and items that belong to the council’s museum collection. Any loans will be returned to their owners and this process has already started.”

Any remaining artefacts will remain in council ownership and will be used in other museums, castles, and schools.