Tolson Museum

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Tolson Museum
Tolson Museum
Victorian Mansion seen through winter trees
Tolson Museum in Knowle Park
Location Huddersfield
Website Tolson Museum

The Tolson Museum is a museum in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England. The museum is housed in Ravensknowle, a Victorian mansion in Knowle Park on Wakefield Road that was given to the town in memory of two brothers killed in World War I. Originally a natural history museum, it is run by Kirklees Council and has a wide range of exhibits related to the area's cultural and industrial history.


Ravensknowle was built in the late-1850s for a local textile baron, John Beaumont. The house was designed by the London architect, Richard Tress who designed the mansion in a "palatial Italian style" and cost about £20,000. Beaumont died in 1899 leaving the house to his daughter who sold it to a relative, Legh Tolson.[1]

In 1919 Legh Tolson gave Ravensknowle Hall to Huddersfield Corporation to use as a museum in memory of his two nephews, brothers 2nd Lieutenant Robert Huntriss Tolson, killed on 1 July 1916 at the Battle of the Somme, and 2nd Lieutenant James Martin Tolson who died in the closing stages of World War I on 2 October 1918. The museum was formally opened on 27 May 1922.[2][3]

Originally a natural history museum with an extensive collection of rocks and fossils[4] Tolson Museum was revamped from the 1980s to feature the industrial history of the Huddersfield area, including the manufacturing of textiles and road vehicles.[5]


The transport gallery

There are exhibits of local archaeology, weaving machinery and textiles and natural history, with an extensive collection of stuffed birds.[6] A reconstruction of a Victorian schoolroom allows children to experience the type of teaching used in that era.[7] A ground floor extension at the rear of the building houses a transport exhibition including roadbuilding techniques and horsedrawn and motor vehicles including Britain's rarest car – the three-wheeled LSD – which was manufactured in Huddersfield between 1919 and 1924. It was originally made by Sykes and Sugden Ltd from 1919 to 1923 and then by the LSD Motor Co Ltd in Mirfield from 1923 to 1924. Another local make of car, the Valveless, made by David Brown Ltd., is on display after being recovered from South Africa.[5]

The reconstructed Grade II listed remains of a hypocaust, comprising the rubble columns and tiled floor, were moved to Ravensknowle Park from Slack Roman Fort.[8]



  1. ^ Sheeran 1993, p. 123
  2. ^ "History spotlight ... Dalton". The Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  3. ^ "The soldiers". Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  4. ^ "Discovering UK Collections". Cornucopia. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  5. ^ a b David George (2002). "The Transport Gallery at the Tolsen Memorial Museum, Ravensknowle Hall, Huddersfield". Yorkshire Archaeological Society Industrial History Section. Retrieved 2010-06-05.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "George" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  6. ^ Kate Kellaway (22 November 2009). "To a birdwatcher, one glimpse, one moment is happiness enough". The Observer. Retrieved 2010-06-05. 
  7. ^ "Tolson Museum". UK School Museums Group. Retrieved 2010-06-06. 
  8. ^ Historic England, "The remains of Hypocaust from Slack Roman Camp re erected in Ravensknowle Park, Wakefield Road (1266976)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 22 August 2015 


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Coordinates: 53°38′42″N 1°45′20″W / 53.6449°N 1.7555°W / 53.6449; -1.7555