The museum is the successor to Keighley Museum which opened in Eastwood House, Keighley, in ca.1892. It is housed in an interesting building, though not strictly a castle. Cliffe Castle was originally the home of Victorian millionaire and textile manufacturer, Henry Isaac Butterfield which they had bought in 1848. Henry Butterfield transformed the building by adding towers, a ballroom and conservatories from 1875 to 1880, and renamed it Cliffe Castle in 1878. He decorated the building with the griffin motif, which he had adopted as a heraldic crest. Completed in the 1880s the building was funded by the Butterfield family’s industrial empire which included wool textile mills and a shipping business that took British goods to Europe, America and China. The completed house was a showpiece of international art and French decoration. It was the scene of many glittering social events. Butterfield family connections included the Roosevelt’s of America and members of the court of Napoleon III. In the 1950s the Castle was bought by Sir Bracewell Smith, a local man who became Lord Mayor of London. Sir Bracewell used architect Sir Albert Richardson to turn Cliffe Castle’s gardens into a grand public park and remodelled the Castle to be a free museum for the people of the district.
In recent years Cliffe Castle has undergone a major restoration. Visitors can see sparkling Victorian rooms and furniture, paintings, and decorative art. Special galleries deal with natural history, archaeology and social history and there is an internationally important display of stained glass by Morris and Co. The Castle also hosts changing exhibitions from our collections and the community.Family areas ensure that there is something for all ages. The Keighley Stories gallery aims to tell the story of Keighley. It also, in passing, helps to retain a sense of local identity in the populace, who continue to return from far away to re-live the pleasures of their childhood by seeing again the exhibits which they remember from long-ago visits to the Museum. This is the gallery to which they bring their grandchildren. It is therefore a more important gallery than it might first appear. It includes the Keighley Hen Pecked Club's peace box. This is an adult-sized wooden rocking cradle, supposedly for soothing nagging wives instead of babies.
Wheelchair access is limited to the ground floor - about three quarters of the displays. Ramped access to the cafe and some of the hillside park. Disabled parking spaces and toilet facilities are available. Bradford Museums and Galleries are proud to announce the introduction of AppEar; a new system to help the visually impaired explore our collections. Visitors can now borrow a PenFriend from our reception desk to hear visual descriptions of the surrounding displays. For more information on the introduction of the AppEar system please contact Kirsty Gaskin tel: 01535 618231 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Location : Spring Gardens Lane, Keighley, BD20 6LH
Transport: Keighley (National Rail) then bus (20 minute walk). Bus routes : 903 stops outside; 25, 66, 446 and 762 stop nearby.
Opening Times : Tuesday to Friday 10:00 to 16:00. Weekends + Bank Holidays 11:00 to 16:00
Tel: 01535 618231