Reopening date for Castle hit by thefts

A YORKSHIRE museum forced to close after thieves stripped it of lead will reopen to the public next month after a £50,000 revamp.

Keighley's Cliffe Castle will reopen on Saturday February 5 with new exhibitions and a restored great drawing room.

The Bradford Council-run museum closed last November due to structural damage caused when rain water poured in following a series of lead thefts from the roof.

Fortunately none of the collections were affected but Victorian ceilings and wiring were damaged and 11 areas of the museum were affected.

Bradford Council has now installed closed circuit TV cameras which have already led to arrests and replaced the lead with a new synthetic material.

The total bill for repairs and security improvements was around 50,000.

Bradford Council's executive member for sport and leisure, Paul Flowers, said: "Staff, volunteers and plaster, gilding and textile specialists have worked together to save Cliffe Castle's important Victorian interiors and I hope visitors will go along and see the restoration.

"Also the Friends of Cliffe Castle are helping fund the ongoing restoration in the National History Gallery where historic friezes were discovered. The white gloss paint has been replaced with rosy reds and rich olive greens and gilded highlights on the walls and cornices which will give a sense of its 1880s glamour.

"More than 75,000 people a year visit Cliffe Castle and I'm sure they will be pleased with what has been done to the museum which has inspired designers, artists and scholars for many years."

Earlier this month the Yorkshire Post revealed that councils across the country paying out hundreds of thousands a year in repairs because of the theft of lead, copper and other metals from public buildings.

Bradford Council said lead replacement work had cost around 100,000 over last three years.