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About Red House

A glimpse inside Red House Museum

Red House was built in 1660 by William Taylor and was owned by the Taylor family until 1920. Unusually it was built of red brick instead of local stone. In the 18th Century the frontage and interior were re-modelled to a more fashionable style for the time. Around 1920 large window extensions were added to the Parlour and Dining Room.

The house is decorated and furnished in the fashion of around 1830.

You can take a virtual tour by scrolling through these images, or click on any of them to see a larger version.

The Entrance Hall is painted in a 'stone' colour. The pine doors and staircase are 'grained' to resemble mahogany and the arch pillars are painted to resemble marble. The Hall is double height and the first floor windows flood the room with light. There is a graceful angled staircase leading to a first floor balcony. This area was created during the 18th century renovations. The narrow outer arches were put in upstairs and downstairs at that time, but the wider central arches were only made after 1900. Under the arches on the Landing is a clue to the 'modernisation' of Red House; the uneven floor can trip up the unwary visitor.

On the ground floor, to the right of the Hall, the Parlour was the 'best' room where visitors were formally received. The carpet is a reproduction of an 1820s design and is a loop pile 'Brussels' weave. Furniture is arranged in typical informal 19th Century style; the central table was a popular feature.

Behind the Parlour is the service area. The first room is the Scullery, where preparation of vegetables, dishwashing and laundry work would have been carried out. Water was carried in from a pump outside.

The Scullery leads to the Kitchen, with a cast iron Yorkshire open range and collection of equipment such as a 'hastener' for hastening the roasting of meat, a creel for drying oatcakees, copper jelly moulds and 18th century dough trough.

In the Dining Room the early 19th century mahogany dining table is set for a formal meal with reproduction cutlery, glasses and a Royal Worcester 'Blue Dragon' dinner service. The famous stained glass windows with painted heads of Milton and Shakespeare are displayed here. They were removed around 1920 but returned to Red House in 1990 and are on loan from
The Brontë Society.

Over the fireplace is a painting of the eruption of Vesuvius in 1794. Joshua Taylor brought this back from Italy. In the mahogany corner cupboard is an 18th century English handpainted Chinese style tea service.

The Study is furnished in comfortable 1830s style. The Secretaire-bookcase belonged to Ellen Nussey, friend of Mary Taylor, Joshua's daughter, and Charlotte Brontë. The 18th Century corner cupboard is painted with 'The Judgement of Solomon'. The wall mirror belonged to Methodist preacher John Nelson.

Upstairs, the room opposite the stairs is set out as a governess' school room and sitting room, and is furnished modestly, with older, shabbier furniture. The mirror and oak table are both 18th century. An oak linen press stands in the corner. On display there are items the governess would have used in her lessons; a globe, a history jigsaw and a wooden board game of Fox and Geese. The easel is a copy of an 1830s design.

The elegant Main Bedchamber overlooks the garden at the front of the house and is furnished with mahogany and oak furniture from the 18th and early 19th centuries. The reproduction window curtains and bed hangings are of damask with boldly contrasting linings in fashionable 19th century style. This room is accessed by two small steps; another clue to the development of this house.

The Girl's Bedroom is above the Kitchen and is furnished in typical style with 17th and 18th century mahogany and oak furniture. The writing slope and quill pen represent letter writing, a typical pastime for middle class girls. Throughout Red House a number of pictures are displayed which are typical of the taste of a cultured family of the early 19th century.

The portraits in the Entrance Hall are of Joshua Taylor's parents, John and Anne, his father-in-law, and his sister Deborah.