Clarke Hall’s rescue package

St. Peter's J+I visit to Clarke Hall, Wakefield.'Pupils Ethan French and Josh Simons prepare a meal with the help of Mistress Beatson.'w9548a940

St. Peter's J+I visit to Clarke Hall, Wakefield.'Pupils Ethan French and Josh Simons prepare a meal with the help of Mistress Beatson.'w9548a940

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A RESCUE package to save Clarke Hall has been put together by Wakefield Council.

It is offering a “substantial” amount of cash to attract a partner organisation to run the grade-II listed mansion house.

The treasured living history museum has been under threat of closure since March when the Wakefield Schools Forum announced it was cutting the museum’s main source of funding.

But the Friends of Clarke Hall, backed by the Express, launched a national campaign to keep it open.

Council leader, Coun Peter Box, said: “Clarke Hall is a much-loved facility in this district, used over many years by schoolchildren, families and visitors.

“We have recognised public support for keeping Clarke Hall open as a valuable heritage site for the benefit of local people and visitors.

“We are doing all we can to secure a viable future which is why we are now undertaking a tender process to identify a partner to take over the running and management of the building and grounds.”

The council has not disclosed how much funding is on offer, but said it should be enough to keep the hall open for the next three years.

After that it believes whoever takes on the hall should be able to run it as a going concern.

As the Express went to press, the council was meeting with the Friends to discuss the cash offer.

World famous author Jaonne Harris joined the fight to save the hall by leading a Twitter campaign.

Meetings have also taken place with the National Trust, which expressed an interest in helping to keep the museum, on Aberford Road, open.

Clarke Hall has a rich and colourful history.

During the 13th century a modest house owned by the Stanley family stood on the site where it is today.

It was sold to the Bradford family who owned it for almost 200 years.

In 1671 it was sold by the then owner John Wingfield to his brother-in-law Benjamin Clarke, of Hansdworth who completely rebuilt the property into the mansion it is today.

Clarke Hall and 50,000 acres of land were sold in 1788 for £3,200 when it became a gentleman farmer’s house.

It opened as an educational museum in 1975, when it was bought by the West Riding County Council.

Hundreds of schoolchildren, from across the country have visited the museum.