After more than fifty years, the Friends of the Manor House voted to wind up their charity at the annual general meeting on 4 November.
The Manor House was opened as a museum and art gallery by Ilkley Urban District Council in 1961 and The Friends came into being in 1963 as a support group for the Manor House. They continued in this role after Bradford MDC took over ownership in 1974. When Bradford announced plans to close the Manor House, the Friends played a key role in focusing public awareness until the Manor House Trust formed in 2016.
It is now sensible for the Manor House to be represented by a single charity and The Friends’ support role will be taken over by a division within the Trust. John Cockshott, Chair of the Friends, said: “This is not so much an end as a new beginning.”
Sarah Thomas, Chair of the Manor House Trust welcomed the decision of the Friends to become part of the Manor House Trust. ‘This seems a natural development for the Trust and for the Friends. The Friends played a very important role in the campaign to keep the doors of the Manor House open. We have developed a close working relationship with the Friends since we took over the Manor House in April 2018 and to move to a position where this key group is integral to the working of the Trust is a real opportunity to enhance the relationship still further.
"A new Friends and Supporters Scheme will be launched in 2022. It will be widely publicised when the scheme goes live and we will love to see local people join the scheme to support the future developments of the Manor House.’