Oakwell Hall awarded £250,000 for revamp

Oakwell Hall has received a �250,000 grant from Arts Council England
Oakwell Hall has received a �250,000 grant from Arts Council England

Oakwell Hall will be given a major revamp after being awarded more than £250,000.

The Elizabethan manor house will improve its visitor facilities thanks to an Arts Council England award.

The £257,289 has been awarded by the Renaissance Strategic Support Fund from Arts Council England for the ‘Growing Oakwell: Beyond the Business Plan’ project.

The cash will be used to tell Oakwell’s story from the English Civil War, through to its Bronte connections and it becoming the district’s premier visitor attraction and TV and film location.

Oakwell’s heritage manager Eric Brown said: “We are absolutely thrilled and delighted to receive this grant. We will end up with a really exciting visitors’ experience and a heritage site that we can be really proud of. The money really will make it a wonderful visitors destination.”

The project includes refurbishment of the public toilets in the visitor information centre, a complete shop refit, and improvements to facilities in the barn, which is used for weddings and events.

The Grade I Listed hall will also lead a regional forum in partnership with other historic houses to explore the challenges of sustainability in the current economic climate.

Director North of Arts Council England Michelle Dickson said: “I’m pleased that we are supporting Oakwell Hall through our Renaissance Strategic Support Fund.

“The development of its activity will attract new audiences and their sustainability plans are a good example of working in partnership with other organisations to ensure the future of the wider museum service.” Kirklees Council’s Joint Cabinet member for Health, Well Being and Communities Coun Jean Calvert said: “The grant is a great tribute to Oakwell Hall’s long tradition of innovation and creative thinking.” Oakwell is the most popular visitor attraction in Kirklees and welcomes more than 200,000 visitors each year. The grant is supported by match funding from Kirklees Council’s Green Energy Fund, the Friends of Oakwell Hall and local paint manufacturers Johnstone’s, part of the PPG group, which has already funded Oakwell’s public programme and structural repairs to one of its chimneys.