Tolson Museum

A view of Tolson Museum through the trees in the park.
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The history book of a typical Yorkshire town, Tolson Museum draws a vivid and intriguing picture of Huddersfield and its people, from the prehistoric to the present. Each layer of Huddersfield's past is revealed in its exciting displays.

Venue Type:

Museum, Garden, parklands or rural site

Opening hours

Saturday & Sunday: 12 noon - 5pm
Tuesday to Thursday: 11am - 5pm

Admission charges

Admission free

Additional info

We regret that all parts of our museum sites are not yet fully accessible. Fire regulations mean that there are also restrictions on the use of prams and pushchairs indoors. Please contact the museum for further details and any other access information that will help you to plan your visit.

With collections in archaeology, archives, natural sciences, costume and textiles, decorative and applied art, music, weapons and war, coins and medals, personalities, science and technology, social history and land transport, almost every layer of Huddersfield's past is revealed at the Tolson Museum. Tolson takes you through the history of Huddersfield, from the tools of the earliest settlers - made for hunting in the primitive forests - to the boom in the textile industry which changed people's lives and brought prosperity to the town, and modern day collections from local people.

Don't miss 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 It was originally made by Sykes and Sugden Ltd from 1919 to 1923 and then by the LSD Motor Co Ltd in Mirfield from 1923 to 1924. The name of the car was derived from the initials of the designer (Longbottom), the manufacturer (Sykes) and their accountant (Dyson). There were three models, the Family, the Popular and the Standard plus three-hundredweight and four-hundredweight van versions. The engine was an air cooled eight horsepower v-twin Jap or Mag. It had two forward gears and one reverse gear.

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Coins and Medals, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Land Transport, Natural Sciences, Personalities, Science and Technology, Social History, Weapons and War

Key artists and exhibits

  • LSD car
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

The Bird Room

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The stunning Tolson Bird Room was opened in 1925 and is a splendid and rare example of historical collecting and display. Most of the birds are from even earlier; the collection was purchased as the nucleus of a museum for Huddersfield.

The evocative display cases were all handmade by Seth L Mosley, the museum's first curator. He displayed each species in its own particular environment, whether moorland or meadow; woodland or water.

There are Pheasants and Finches; Crows and Owls; Geese and Ducks and scores of small birds such as Golden Oriole, Yellowhammer and Pied Flycatcher. See also a splendid Peacock and a Bewick Swan from 1921.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


The story of Huddersfield

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

"The town that bought itself"

In 1800 Huddersfield was still only an oversized village. Most people worked in the domestic weaving trade or farmed small patches of land. Before the end of the century Huddersfield was a town of growth, prosperity and culture, boasting many fine buildings.

Things to see:

Textiles - pattern books, Great Exhibition 1851, carved cloth printing blocks, wage cups for mill workers

Culture - locally made violins and clarinets; the unusual Ophicleide and 'serpent', Mrs Sunderland's desk

Law and order - 19th Century police truncheons, housebreaker's skeleton keys, knuckle dusters, watchmen's rattles

Civic memorabilia - Huddersfield's first mace, mayoral robes, commemorative items.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Ramsden's Town

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The Ramsdens were the founders of the Huddersfield we know today. In 1599 William Ramsden bought the Manor of Huddersfield as a small Pennine village; it developed into a major town and ‘one of the principal seats of the woollen trade in the Kingdom’. The estate was sold to Huddersfield Corporation in 1920 for £1,300,000.

Amazing objects to see include:

The Skelmanthorpe Flag

Richard Oastler memorabilia including Flag carried at an 1832 demo in York

Fighting for the Right to Vote - The Ten Hour Bill Banner

A fine Suffragist banner - 'Votes for Women Huddersfield and district'

A rare road Toll Board c.1923-4

Painting - View of Huddersfield by William Cowen, 1849.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Textiles - From Sheep's Back to Man's Back

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

The local textile industry created wealth for mill owners such as the Beaumonts who lived in Ravensknowle Hall before it became Tolson Museum.

Displays of machinery and artefacts, from processes including spinning, weaving and cropping, explain how the factory system changed the lives of workers and of the spirited resistance to new machinery by the Luddites.


A hand cropping bench and shears and a display of the frames, so detested by the Luddites, which mechanised the process of cropping.

Other Luddite related artefacts including Enoch's Hammer and a hair tidy made by one of the Luddites whilst awaiting trial at York Assizes.

A Jacquard Loom used in Huddersfield for the 'fancy' trade of making elaborately patterned shawls and waistcoatings.

Exquisite local samples of fine 19th Century hand-loom woven fancy fabrics.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Transport - Going Places

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2018 *on now

Take a journey through the Going Places transport gallery, a collection of historic carriages, cars and bicycles that have kept Huddersfield moving through history.

The exhibition includes:

Britain's rarest car - the three-wheeled LSD - which was manufactured locally between 1919 and 1924.

Another local car, the Valveless, made by David Brown Ltd - on display after being recovered from South Africa.

An early 19th Century Pack Saddle used for carrying a 'piece' of cloth to market.

A 19th Century horse-drawn Hansom Cab, Wagonette and Station Omnibus all made in Huddersfield.

A fascinating range of cycles from the Velocipede of 1868-72 and the wonderful Singer Sociable tricycle ridden in Lockwood, Huddersfield in the 1880s, on which two people could ride together sitting side by side; through to early 20th Century bicycles.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Huddersfield's Great War Stories

Huddersfield's Great War Stories

  • 2 November 2014 — 31 December 2018 *on now

An exhibition which explores people's lives at home and away during the First World War. See 'Loss and Legacy:The Tolson Story' - powerful new short films based on the tragic story of Legh Tolson's two nephews who were killed in the First World War, and in whose memory the museum was given to the people of Huddersfield in 1919.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly



A banner with the words Votes for Women and a mill scene made by Florence Lockwood.

Our Fight for the Voting Right!

  • 28 April — 30 September 2018 *on now

Our exciting new exhibition explores the stories of the suffragettes and suffragists of Kirklees, from the mill cottages of Batley to the grand houses of Honley. Come and see our extraordinary ‘Votes for Women’ banner and help us to celebrate the centenary of the 1918 Act that gave (some) women the right to vote at last. #Vote100
Free entry. Accessible by stairs only.

Suitable for

  • 14-15
  • 16-17
  • 18+


Free entry

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
A black and white photo of servants stood in front of the Stable Bloack

Behind the Scenes at the Museum

  • 17 June 2018 1-1:45pm
  • 15 July 2018 1-1:45pm

Join our volunteers for a fascinating tour of Tolson Museum, where you will discover more about the people who once lived and worked here. Tours last approximately 40 minutes and are family friendly.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Please book on the day at the reception desk.

A grainy black and white image of Dora Thewlis being led away by policemen.

Votes for Women!

  • 2 June 2018 2-4pm

Join us for an afternoon to explore more about our new exhibition: ‘Our Fight for the Voting Right!’ Jill Liddington tells the story of Florence Lockwood’s dramatic conversion to Votes for Women and the creation of her magnificent suffragist banner. Also campaigning in Huddersfield were daring suffragettes, including 16-year-old weaver Dora Thewlis, arrested at Westminster and dubbed ‘Baby Suffragette’ by the press. The talk is followed by a Q&A session.
Following refreshments, join curator Frances Stonehouse to learn more about our collection and the stories of our hidden heroines.
Exhibition accessible by stairs only.

Suitable for

  • 16-17
  • 18+


£5, including refreshments. Booking required by calling 01484 223240 or visiting

Tolson Museum
Ravensknowle Park
Wakefield Rd
West Yorkshire




01484 223240


01484 223843

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.