New visitor attractions at Shibden Hall to be opened for Gentleman Jack fans

Shibden Hall
Shibden Hall
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The owners of Shibden Hall are looking to open up new areas of the house and grounds for visitors.

Calderdale Council have revealed their plans to develop the ancestral home of the Lister family after a huge increase in Gentleman Jack tourism this summer.

The house near Halifax was home to Anne Lister, the main character in the BBC period drama, during the 18th century and was used as a filming location for the series, which was also broadcast in America.

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Since then, visitor numbers have trebled compared to the same period last year, with Gentleman Jack fans from all over the world descending on the Shibden estate.

The council, who were given Shibden by the Listers in 1933, want to open up unseen areas of the house and grounds to the public and revitalise other 'forgotten' parts of the estate.

They include Walker Pit, the hall's private coal mine, which was named after Anne's same-sex partner, Ann Walker.

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There are plans to re-establish the kitchen garden which once supplied the hall with fresh produce. The patch of land where the original garden stood has since been planted as woodland.

A new visitor centre is also in the pipeline.

Calderdale Council's assistant director of customer services Sarah Richardson said:-

“We have ambitious plans to harness the incredible popularity and impact of Gentleman Jack. The aim is to attract even more visitors and enable a more diverse range of people to enjoy and engage with Shibden’s unique heritage.

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“Our plans include investing in Walker Pit, which Anne Lister sunk using funds from Ann Walker. We hope to improve access, lighting and storytelling to create a new attraction and bring this important heritage feature back to life.

“We want to give a new lease of life to Shibden’s hidden kitchen gardens and cascading feeder ponds, involving the community in researching their history to shape how the gardens will be re-purposed within the managed woodland. This will also improve biodiversity and natural habitats, reconnecting people with Shibden’s natural heritage.

“To help people learn more about the story of Shibden Hall and Anne Lister, we plan to create a vibrant visitor centre, featuring digital media, displays and talks to enhance the visit.

Inside Nether Brea, the house on the Shibden estate that 'doer-upper' Anne Lister renovated
“We are currently bidding for external funding to help move these plans forward.”

Shibden Hall will be closed for winter from Christmas Eve until March 2.