Red House in Gomersal is one of the most important buildings in the Kirklees area of West Yorkshire, holding great historic and literary significance. Originally built in 1660, this beautiful building remained in the hands of the Taylor family until 1920, and until recently was a magnificent museum open to the public and attracting visitors from across Yorkshire and beyond.
The Taylors were cloth manufacturers of some renown, and even operated their own bank on the Red House site. They were a fascinating and formidable family, but perhaps most intriguing of all of them was Mary Taylor. Mary was a fascinating woman in her own right, travelling across Europe,where she loved to climb in the Swiss Alps, and then to New Zealand, where she founded her own successful business. After returning to Gomersal she published a number of articles that marked her as one of the first feminists, and towards the end of her life she wrote a novel, ‘Miss Miles’.
One of Mary’s other claims to fame is that she was the great friend of Charlotte Brontë, and the famous Haworth writer often visited Mary and her family at Red House. Her love for the building was such that it features heavily in Charlotte’s second published novel ‘Shirley’ under the guise of ‘Briarmains’. The Taylor family themselves appear in the novel as the Yorkes, and we can clearly see the love and high regard that Charlotte had for them.
As a much loved museum Red House told the fascinating tale of the Taylors, Charlotte Brontë and the long and fascinating account of the house itself with its link to the cloth trade and Methodism. Unfortunately, Kirklees Council closed the museum to the public in December 2016 since when it has been emptied of its wonderful exhibits and left to rot. It doesn’t have to end like that.
We believe in a Red House revival, and we call upon Kirklees Council to discuss with us our plans to operate Red House as a self-financing community asset. It has endless potential, and could be used as a museum, a host for retreats, literary and arts events, a wedding venue, and a stunning asset that could be utilised by the whole community.
Kirklees Council has an opportunity to show a commitment to culture, history and community. You can read more about Red House by visiting our individual pages on the menu. Please stand with us, with Mary Taylor, with Charlotte Brontë and help us re-open Red House to the public.