Improved experience for visitors at Grade I listed hall

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THE most popular visitor attraction in Kirklees, the Grade I listed Elizabethan Oakwell Hall, has received a £257,000 grant from the Arts Council to improve its facilities.

The hall, at Birstall, will see a new interpretation programme which will tell Oakwell’s story from the English Civil War, though its Bronte connections and to its more recent ‘career’ as a Kirklees’ visitor attraction and TV and film location.

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 Arts Council 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, who have already funded Oakwell’s public programme and structural repairs to one of its chimneys.

Councillor Jean Calvert, joint Cabinet member for health, wellbeing and communities, said: “The grant is a great tribute to Oakwell Hall’s long tradition of innovation and creative thinking. Oakwell is at the heart of the community and it’s wonderful to see the continued support of local people, volunteers and businesses like PPG enabling this project to happen. Oakwell is such a well-loved site and this Arts Council grant will improve facilities for visitors, enabling it to meet the needs of a wider range of audiences.”