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New era for Ilkley Manor House

A new era begins for the Friends of The Manor House as the Manor House Trust takes over the baton.

‘Soon after the Friends celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2013, Bradford Metropolitan District Council took the decision to close the Manor House as a museum and art gallery. The Friends campaigned tirelessly to save the Manor House and were effective in first helping to postpone that closure and then taking steps to keep the Manor House alive, supporting efforts to secure its future’ said John Cockshott, Chair of the Friends

‘The popular coffee mornings run by the Friends were kept going during the closure period along with concerts and activities for families in the Manor House and in the courtyard.

‘The new Trust emerged during 2017 initially managing the Manor House with Bradford’s agreement, and took it over formally in April 2018. The Friends continued to provide support for the Trust’s initial activities, including the makeover of the sensory heritage gardens in the courtyard funded by Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme. We were delighted that Alan Titchmarsh, Patron to the Manor House, officially opened the new courtyard garden in June 2019.

‘'In 2021 the Friends of the Manor House committee recognised that it could safely pass the baton to the Manor House Trust. On the committee's recommendation, at the AGM in November it was decided to wind up the Friends as a charity. The Trust is now forming a new group of supporters which will be launched in March 2022. The popular activities that were set up by the Friends will continue within the overall programme run by the Trust. The committee wishes the Trust well.’

‘We are delighted to have been able to work so positively with the Friends since the Trust was formed in 2017 and without their invaluable knowledge of the house we wouldn’t be where we are today. The closing of the Friends as a separate charity is an endorsement of the approach the Trust is taking in running the Manor House. The new Supporters’ scheme will be an important mechanism for the Manor House to thrive for years to come and we hope that as well as existing friends we will be able to attract many new members.’ says Sarah Thomas, Chair of the Trust.

The Manor House will reopen on 26 February, for the latest visit the website


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