Cliffe Castle Museum, Spring Gardens Lane, Keighley, BD20 6LQ – Visit Now
Cliffe Castle in Keighley was the home of Victorian millionaire and textiles manufacturer, Henry Isaac Butterfield. The house was a shrine of international art and french decoration. Rooms which dripped with decadence and lavish furnishings hosted many great social gatherings featuring contemporaries of the Butterfield’s including the Roosevelts of America and members of the court of Napoleon III. The lavish house and grounds eventually became a museum, designed to be free for the people of the district, and opened its doors to the public in the 1960.
witness the sheer excess of art, artefacts and Victorian extravagance
The museum has expanded over the years to go beyond being a place where the general public can witness the sheer excess of art, artefacts and Victorian extravagance. You can now visit the Natural History, Molecules to Minerals as well as the Airedale galleries. In the Airedale gallery, you can explore the geological layout of the area. Learn how the land was formed after the last Ice Age and how the carboniferous coal measures that fuelled the North’s industrial revolution came to be. In Molecules to Minerals you can learn about the appearance of different rocks and minerals and how we differentiate between them as well as some of their uses. The Natural History gallery is a firm favourite for visitors of all ages. With dioramas, skeletons and models of a vast selection of birds, mammals and insects. Explore the evolution of a specific species and get up close with creatures who are rarely seen in the wild.
Surrounding the museum is Cliffe Castle park, a beautiful public garden. With Victorian ornamental rockwork, marble fountains and a very popular children’s play area, it is perfect for a quiet stroll while you muse over the contents of the Museum as well as providing space for the children to blow off some steam. After a full day out exploring the museum and gardens, you can call into the Pavillion Cafe for some well earned refreshments.
Although the museum is currently closed to the public due to lockdown restrictions, they have an excellent virtual tour, in which you can happily click through the exhibits, learning and satisfying that sense of curiosity from the comfort and safety of your own home.