4,000-year-old urn from Stanbury to be museum attraction in Keighley (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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4,000-year-old urn from Stanbury to be museum attraction in Keighley
A bronze age burial urn discovered buried on a Stanbury farm will go on public display for the first time this weekend.
The artefact will be one of the exhibits in the Bracewell Smith Hall at Keighley’s Cliffe Castle Museum. The museum re-opened after a year-long refurbishment, and has seen up to 1,600 visitors a day since.
Although people have been flooding into the museum to see exhibits, the Bracewell Smith Hall has yet to re-open, and will do so on Saturday.
The hall, a 1950s extension to the building, was designed by eccentric architect Sir Albert Richardson, inspired by Brighton Pavilion.
During the restoration the hall was re-decorated to its original style, with hundreds of sheets of gold leaf used to decorate its columns and balcony.
A huge lantern was taken out of storage, where it had been since the 1980s, during the restoration work, cleaned up and returned to its position hanging in the hall, which has now become an art gallery.
But the centrepiece of the new gallery is the Stanbury Urn which is 4,000 years old. It was discovered at a farm in 2007. Archaeologists were called in, and found the urn contained the cremated remains of a man, a battle axe and articles of clothing, earrings and clasps.
Ruled to be treasure, it was sent to the British Museum before being brought by the Friends of Cliffe Castle for an undisclosed sum.
Museum manager Daru Rook said: “As soon as the builders found it they knew it was something exceptional.
“It had bones, a cup that probably held incense, a war axe and tiny fragments of metal we believe were earnings.
“He also had bone clamps. He had been cremated and systematically gathered and placed in the urn. He must have been someone quite important.”
He said reaction to the refurbished museum had been phenomenal, saying: “Attendance has ranged from 400 to 1,600 a day, and the comments have been great. I heard people say it was the best museum they have ever been to, and word is definitely getting around.”
Cliffe Castle was built by Keighley industrialist Henry Butterfield in the 1870s.
Sir Bracewell Smith bought the house in the 1950s and turned it into a building and art gallery for the people of Keighley. It adopted many of the exhibits from its predecessor, Keighley Museum and is run by Bradford Council.
Among the new exhibits attracting visitors are a portrait of Queen Victoria, absent from the museum for decades, a sea turtle served to guests at one of the town’s first civic functions and two bronze female statues, formally used as fixtures on the building’s staircase.
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