Sunday, 27 March 2011

Save Clarke Hall!

Those of you in the Wakefield area may know of Clarke Hall, an educational museum on Aberford Road.
It is a Grade II listed building. Built in 1680, it was the family home of Benjamin and Priscilla Clarke and their children. It was very fashionably decorated and the gardens were stocked with medicinal and culinary herbs. Saved from demolition in 1914, it has been used as an educational and living history museum since the 1960's. Primarily reserved for use by school groups it is also open to the public for special open day events, family activities and guided tours by costumed guides.

(The contributor of the photo of Clarke Hall is Mike Kirby. The photo is copyrighted but also licensed for further reuse.)

I went to one of it's open days about three years ago. My husband was working away and I was on my own so I wandered down there a couple of weekends before Christmas. It was one of the most interesting places I've ever been! It really was a most enjoyable few hours. I explored the house, watching costumed re-enacters. I made a Christmas wreath and one of those oranges that you stick cloves in and tie a ribbon around (don't know if they have a specific name??!). Then everyone sang Christmas carols in front of an open fireplace and finished off with mince pies and mulled wine.
I seem to recall that my younger sister went on a school trip there and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have also read that school groups have travelled as far afield as Redcar and Portsmouth to experience the unique living history it provides.

Now it's likely that it will be a victim of the current cut-backs. The grant funding it has been receiving has been withdrawn, as of April 2011, I understand. As it costs £300,000 per year to run, it is going to be very difficult to find the money elsewhere.

I will be very sad to see Clarke Hall close and really hope that more funding can be secured. I was looking forward to going to more open days now Lucinda is getting older as I know she would love it. It would be such a shame to lose something so historically important as well as the loss of a unique educational experience for not only local school children but also those further afield.

There is a Facebook page dedicated to saving Clarke Hall museum. Here is the link:!/pages/Save-Clarke-Hall-Museum/113665132042910?sk=info

Here is the Wakefield Council website page for Clarke Hall:

There is a rating and comments box at the bottom of the Wakefield Council page. If you would like to see Clarke Hall saved, please rate it 5 stars and leave a relevant comment!

Please Save Clarke Hall!

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