The Tolson Museum is a museum housed in Ravensknowle, a Victorian mansion in Knowle Park on Wakefield Road that was given to the town in memory of two brothers killed in World War I. Ravensknowle was built in the late-1850s for a local textile baron, John Beaumont. The house was designed by the London architect, Richard Tress who designed the mansion in a "palatial Italian style" and cost about £20,000. Beaumont died in 1899 leaving the house to his daughter who sold it to a relative, Legh Tolson. In 1919 Legh Tolson gave Ravensknowle Hall to Huddersfield Corporation to use as a museum in memory of his two nephews, brothers 2nd Lieutenant Robert Huntriss Tolson, killed on 1 July 1916 at the Battle of the Somme, and 2nd Lieutenant James Martin Tolson who died in the closing stages of World War I on 2 October 1918. The museum was formally opened on 27 May 1922. Originally a natural history museum with an extensive collection of rocks and fossils Tolson Museum was revamped from the 1980s to feature the industrial history of the Huddersfield area, including the manufacturing of textiles and road vehicles.
There are exhibits of local archaeology, weaving machinery and textiles and natural history, with an extensive collection of stuffed birds. A reconstruction of a Victorian schoolroom allows children to experience the type of teaching used in that era. A ground floor extension at the rear of the building houses a transport exhibition including roadbuilding techniques and horsedrawn and motor vehicles including Britain's rarest car – the three-wheeled LSD – which was manufactured in Huddersfield between 1919 and 1924. It was originally made by Sykes and Sugden Ltd from 1919 to 1923 and then by the LSD Motor Co Ltd in Mirfield from 1923 to 1924. Another local make of car, the Valveless, made by David Brown Ltd., is on display after being recovered from South Africa. The reconstructed Grade II listed remains of a hypocaust, comprising the rubble columns and tiled floor, were moved to Ravensknowle Park from Slack Roman Fort. A hypocaust, incidentally, was an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air. The word derives from the Ancient Greek hypo meaning "under" and caust-, meaning "burnt" (as in caustic). The Roman Vitruvius, writing about the end of the 1st century BCE, attributes their invention to Sergius Orata.
There is also a knurr, spell and pommel. Knurr and Spell used to be a hugely popular game in Yorkshire. Competition prize-winners won large amounts of money and betting was common. The spell is a wooden board with a spring-loaded cup and spikes to get a good grip in a field. In some areas a sling suspended from a frame was used instead. The original knurr, knurl, knur, or nur was a ball about 4cm in diameter made of box or other hard wood, carved or finished by hand. In the late 19th Century, pottery balls about 2.5cm in diameter and of standard weight were introduced. Public toilets, including accessible toilet are on the ground floor in the Transport gallery. There is seating spotted around the galleries, particularly at interactive activities. Push button activated sounds and interactives and constant or movement activated atmospheric sounds in selected areas. Assistance dogs are welcome. A water bowl is available on request.
Location : Ravensknowle Park, Wakefield Road, Moldgreen, Huddersfield, HD5 8DJ
Transport: Huddersfield (National Rail) then bus. Bus Routes : 80, 81, 82, 83, 83A, 84, 231, 232, 241, 372 and 399 stop nearby.
Opening Times : Tuesday to Friday 11:00 to 17:00; Weekends 12:00 to 17:00.
Tickets : Free.
Tel: 01484 223240