Cliffe Castle was originally the home of Victorian millionaire and textile manufacturer, Henry Isaac Butterfield. Completed in the 1880s the building was funded by the Butterfield family’s industrial empire which included wool textile mills and a shipping business that took British goods to Europe, America and China.
The completed house was a showpiece of international art and French decoration. It was the scene of many glittering social events. Butterfield family connections included the Roosevelt’s of America and members of the court of Napoleon III.
In the 1950s the Castle was bought by Sir Bracewell Smith, a local man who became Lord Mayor of London. Sir Bracewell used architect Sir Albert Richardson to turn Cliffe Castle’s gardens into a grand public park and remodelled the Castle to be a free museum for the people of the district.
In recent years Cliffe Castle has undergone a major restoration. Visitors can see sparkling Victorian rooms and furniture, paintings, and decorative art. Special galleries deal with natural history, archaeology and social history and there is an internationally important display of stained glass by Morris and Co. The Castle also hosts changing exhibitions from our collections and the community.Family areas ensure that there is something for all ages.
The bees from the popular display have moved to East Riddlesden Hall for the winter. It is too hot for the bees at Cliffe Castle. In the winter the hive needs to stay cool, so that the older foraging bees can live longer.
Outside visitors can enjoy spectacular parkland and gardens . There is also a large new children’s play- area.
During 2015 and 2016 visitors may expect some disruption to the grounds due to the commencement of a major restoration programme funded by the Heritage Lottery. We hope you will enjoy the improvements as they develop.
Please be aware that the Cliffe Castle cafe is currently closed due to refurbishment work in the park.
For more visitor photos check out our Bradford Museums & Galleries flickr group