The former Museum
The Mansion, together with 74 acres of surrounding parkland, was bought from the Haigh family (local mill owners) for £20,000 in 1893 by the Dewsbury Corporation. It was bought for the benefit of the people of Dewsbury and in 1896 the Mansion became Dewsbury Museum, developing a substantial collection of Egyptology exhibits that fascinated visiting Victorians. It also provided a venue for local events and celebrations both for the town and for local families. There was a restaurant on the ground floor and accomodation where the current museum reception is, to house the family running it.
Kirklees Council’s Cabinet took the reluctant decision to close the Museum on 3 October 2016, due to financial pressures. The Museums Service closed it’s doors for the last time on Sunday 6 November 2016.
Friends of Dewsbury Park Mansion
Following news of the closure, the Friends of Crow Nest Park worked together with local volunteers to seek a way forward that would allow the former Museum building to remain as a community asset, rather than be sold commercially. The Friends of Dewsbury Park Mansion was formed on 22 November 2016, and the community came together to appeal to others through social media, word of mouth and by holding public meetings and events. There are 7 volunteers on our management committee, working alongside other dedicated volunteers in the community.
Our ambitious plans have resonated with the community with over 500 individuals Liking our Facebook page, a mailing list of over 800.
Community Asset Transfer
Kirklees Council has decided that the Mansion will be disposed of, either through a process of Community Asset Transfer to a community group, or by a private sale. The Expression of Interest deadline is 6 March 2017, after which the Council will decide on whether to invite a group to submit a viable business plan, which they will be given just six weeks to complete.
Want to Support or Learn More?
The Friends of Dewsbury Park Mansion was formed by members of our local community, for our local community. We would love to welcome you as part of the efforts to provide a welcoming, thriving community business for the benefit of all.
Our mailing list will keep you up to date, suggest ways you might like to support, and fill you in on events aimed at strengthening our Dewsbury Community.