Keighley’s Cliffe Castle Gets Twitter Talking

By Liam Smedley

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Cliffe Castle was built by Henry Isaac Butterfield as it exists now between 1875 and 1880

Cliffe Castle in Keighley has been named in the top then most talked about tourist destinations this year.

The list compiled by Welcome to Yorkshire, consisted of the Yorkshire attractions that had generated the most conversation on social media site Twitter.

Cliffe Castle was joined in the list by Flamingo Land, Harewood House and Eureka!

Curator of Social History for Bradford Museums and Galleries Heather Millard said :

“Certainly over the summer it’s been lovely to have families in and see them interacting with all of our exhibits. The bees and the working hive are always very popular. We’re always over hearing people trying to find the Queen Bee – it’s fascinating for them and for us to listen to. It goes to show there will always be a place for us against tablets and games consoles, because at the end of the day, we don’t run out of batteries.”

Miss Millard is also responsible for the museum’s social media including its Twitter account. She added: “After visiting, tweeters comment about our wonderful range of objects we have here, everything from portraits to chandeliers to costumes.”

Other items in the collection include Egyptian Mummies and fossils as well as the new acquisition of a rare portrait of Queen Victoria.

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This rare portrait of Queen Victoria as a widow is one of the museum’s most recent attractions

It returned to the castle last year after being away since the 1950’s, when it moved with the family who owned the castle at the time.“After that we didn’t know where it had gone and it was thought to be lost.” Miss Millard said. “Then a colleague walked into an antiques centre and found it. So  we were able to acquire it and bring it back and hang it where it used to be.”Not many portraits exist of Queen Victoria as a widow, but this item gives many clues to which period in her life it was painted said Miss Millard:

“She’s wearing a miniature on her wrist, the tiara she is wearing was designed by Prince Albert for her, and she’s actually got one of his handkerchiefs on her lap. Everyone knows she was the widow of Windsor and she very much missed Albert. So to have this portrait speaking so much of her and him is a wonderful thing to have back here.”

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The Bracewell Smith Hall section was rennovated during the Castle’s temporary closure.

Cliffe Castle reopened in 2013 after a year of refurbishment and the time away has obviously reinvigorated the public’s appetite for the museum.Henry Isaac Butterfield and his family bought the castle in 1848. He built it as it exists now between 1875 and 1880. The Butterfield’s made their money in the textiles industry and were well connected. They married into wealthy American families and Henry moved in French society.

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