Gentleman Jack's Shibden Hall announces coronavirus closure days after reopening

Shibden Hall. Picture: James Hardisty.
Shibden Hall. Picture: James Hardisty.

The former home of Gentleman Jack inspiration Anne Lister will shut because of coronavirus, it was announced just three days after it reopened following refurbishments.

Shibden Hall will shut from Friday March 20 until further notice, owners said today, as will Bankfield Museum and Heptonstall Museum.

Anne Lister's portrait at Shibden Hall. Picture: James Hardisty.

Anne Lister's portrait at Shibden Hall. Picture: James Hardisty.

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The estate only opened up on Saturday for the first time since Christmas eve after it was closed for upgrades.

A statement was posted from its Twitter account this afternoon, which read: "We are sorry to announce that our sites at Shibden Hall, Bankfield Museum and Heptonstall Museum will be closed to the public from Friday 20th March 2020 until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Wainwright’s hugely popular BBC and HBO series about the English landowner and diarist, who was dubbed the “first modern lesbian” and died in 1840, was responsible for a surge in visitor numbers.

In August last year alone, there were 14,419 visitors compared to 2,579 in August 2018.

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During the summer of last year, there was an average of 500 visitors a day – in previous summers, a more typical number was about 150.

The site closed so that the hall and barn could be thoroughly cleaned alongside a programme of careful conservation work on many of the objects on display.

Essential work took place on the heating system and minor building work was needed on the roof and guttering.

The security of the site has also been improved with closed circuit television equipment installed.

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The visitor entrance and facilities for school groups have been upgraded, with improvements made to the shop area as the increases in visitor numbers has seen greater demand for souvenirs and merchandise.

It has previously been reported that the house, parts of which date back to 1420, will be closed for filming of the second series of Gentleman Jack for several weeks during June and July as well as September and November.

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