Doubt cast by Bingley group on operetta link to East Riddlesden Hall

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bingley Gilbert and Sullivan Society chorus member Peter Robinson at East Riddlesden Hall Bingley Gilbert and Sullivan Society chorus member Peter Robinson at East Riddlesden Hall

New research has cast doubt on long-held links between East Riddlesden Hall and famous operetta Ruddigore.

The Bingley Gilbert and Sullivan Society claims to have disproved the story that the hall’s notorious Murgatroyd family feature in the comic opera.

Peter Robinson, an uncle of a society member, who volunteers at the hall, has unearthed information direct from the pen of lyricist WS Gilbert who wrote in 1880 to Keighley industrialist William Brigg.

Ruddigore portrays the antics of the Murgatroyd family who, due to a witch’s curse, must commit a crime every day or they will die. A family of the same name owned East Riddlesden Hall during the 17th century, and the wool merchants and were renowned for misdemeanours and debauchery.

Gilbert wrote: “My selection of the name Murgatroyd was purely accidental and had no relation whatever to the antecedents of any person bearing that name.”

The society presents Ruddigore at Bingley Arts Centre next week. Tickets can be booked on (01535) 680692 or at robertbroxholme@btinternet.com.

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