Impact of funding cut felt at Bishops' House

Information released to the media today:

"It is with regret that Museums Sheffield today announces that the school visits it facilitates at Bishops’ House, one of Sheffield’s oldest timber-framed buildings, will be suspended for the foreseeable future from April 1. Funding reductions from April mean that Museums Sheffield, which has run workshops for school groups at the House since 1998, can no longer afford to cover staff costs.

Situated in Meersbrook Park, Bishops’ House has offered a unique a learning resource to teachers across the city. Over the past 14 years, Museums Sheffield has welcomed thousands of school children to explore the house’s historic collections, take part in activities and learn all about life in Tudor times.

Museums Sheffield is currently undergoing a major restructure to adjust to a significant reduction in its funding from the Arts Council England. While the organisation has been able to safeguard its existing opening hours, the level of staff-led activity it is able to provide for schools across the city’s museums and galleries is set to decrease from September.

Museums Sheffield will continue to deliver its existing programme of schools workshops at Weston Park, Millennium Gallery and Graves Gallery throughout the forthcoming summer term. From September, provision for schools will be more limited, with a reduced programme of workshops led by museum staff. Museums Sheffield is currently exploring alternative funding possibilities and it is hoped that activity will increase again in the long term.

Kim Streets, Director of Learning and Knowledge at Museums Sheffield said:

”We’re very sad to see our work with schools at Bishops’ House come to an end, though we hope that we can find a way to resume it in the future. In the current climate, we simply can’t afford to maintain that provision and it just isn’t viable to ask primary schools to meet the full cost. Our focus now is on working with partners such as the Friends of Bishops’ House to find a solution which will allow schools to access the House”

Bishops' House is open at weekends thanks to the voluntary organisation, the Friends of Bishops' House – for more details visit  The Friends of Bishops' House are now exploring avenues to offer schools' access to this valuable resource."

For more information about booking a school visit to the Millennium Gallery,Graves Gallery or Weston Park email or call 0114 278 2655.

Mar 27 2012


  1. Written by John Bain about 3 years, 3 months ago

    When I used to go the top way into Meersbrook Park from my home in Carfield Avenue in the nineteen fifties the place was as dead as a doornail. Congratulations to all concerned in bringing it to life and shame on the those who force cuts in services like this.

  2. Written by Sue Daley-Yates about 3 years, 2 months ago

    I too am sorry to hear that the Bishops House is being suspended due to 'funding reduction'. Mention is made of Weston Park Museuem and other facilities that will continue to offer a programme for schools. Whilst this is better than nothing, it takes me back to the time when the old Mappin Art Gallery was re-modelled along with the Museum next door to become Weston Park Museum, a move that I regret to this day.
    I used to attend life drawing classes and other workshops at the Mappin along with many other faithful followers from all over the region. The classes were well attended and focused on delivering a programme that attempted to provide serious tuition in the visual arts not just craft clases (apologies to those who enjoy making Xmas cards and puppets). Well, that went with the re-structuring and we have an inferior space at the Millennium Galleries supposedly devoted to delivering a similar programme to that which was offered at the Mappin, but doesn't compare in terms of attitude or approach, let alone facilities.
    My son who is 24 and studying Physics actually complains of the 'dumbing down' that ironically occurs as a result of trying to make museums interactive and child friendly. Visitor numbers probably do go up but at the expense of delivering an experience that engages the mind rather than just the hands which is often the case with supposedly interactive resources.
    I do ocasionally attend classes at the Millennium Galeries - 'any port in a storm', but am constantly reminded of what has been lost rather than gained. I hope that tecahers across the region don't feel the same if the Bishps House goes a similar way to the old Mappin Art Gallery.

  3. Written by Helen Smith about 3 years, 2 months ago

    It is so terrible that Bishop's House has to stop this. It was the best school trip that I took my class to when I was teaching. They learned so much from actually doing the activities. Still have the photo's. Good memories.

  4. Written by Karen Sherwood about 3 years, 2 months ago

    Like Sue Daley, I was very sad to see the old Mappin Art Gallery closed and changed so dramatically - with no improvement of provision that was promised at the Graves - also a lovely gallery and very under promoted mainly because of the new millennium Galleries. In the 20 years since I set up, there has been an increase in arts provision and access and activities which is to be celebrated but there still seems to be a general lack of understanding as to the true value of these things. The 'Arts' are a 'core' service and need to be supported and valued. They have and continue to be a force for regeneration as they develop people. It is joy and wonder and curiosity that make life worth living. I sincerely hope that all who pay for services will look and consider what incredible value these services have delivered and actively look for ways to find funds and creative ways to keep these opportunities alive. The 'arts' are not added extras or luxuries, they are what's needed to live life to the full. Karen Sherwood. Managing Director, Cupola Contemporary Art, Sheffield

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