Clifton Park Museum is


This summer, join Nelson, Marco and the gang as Clifton Park Museum celebrates 125 years as Rotherham’s community museum.

No matter what era you grew up in or if you have since moved away, most will have fond memories of visiting this grand Georgian house which lovingly tells the story of Rotherham’s rich heritage. From cowering away from Marco the Brown Bear’s great big teeth, to marvelling at the exquisite Rhinoceros Vase, or playing in the Victorian kitchen, families have continued to

flock to Clifton Park for a fun and free day out.

But before it was a museum, Clifton House was owned and lived in by prominent industrialists, the Walker family who were pinnacle in Rotherham’s early iron and steel manufacturing.

Built in 1783, the Palladian-style house was designed by John Carr, the Yorkshire architect behind the

likes of Cannon Hall and Wentworth Woodhouse.

Clifton House passed through the

Walker generations until 1861 on the death of Henry Walker, with many of the family portraits still hanging on the walls of the museum. However, this glorious building failed to sell at auction in 1883 after the death of its subsequent owner, William Owen, and was instead bought by Rotherham Corporation in 1891 for £23,000.

The surrounding public parklands which included a fish pond, ice house and grazing land for cattle were opened as a pleasure park for the

growing Rotherham population by Prince of Wales, Edward VIII that same year, with the museum opening shortly after in July 1893.

In those early days, the collections were made up of items donated by local people or societies, including Roman finds from the excavations at Templeborough.

Over the past 125 years, these collections have continued to provide insight into what life in the town was like throughout the centuries and include industrial artefacts, archaeological finds, fine art and natural science.

One stand-out collection is Creating happy families

Adopting children can transform their young lives. But for 35-year-old Rotherham lady Karen, going through the adoption process has also changed hers for the better.

Karen has recently become a single mum to two young sisters aged two and three thanks to the Rotherham Adoption Agency.

She chose to adopt due to having a hereditary genetic condition which she didn’t want to pass on.

Karen has also put her full-time NHS career on hold to concentrate on parenting her two daughters and is currently on a year’s adoption leave.

“When you have a career, there will never be a ‘right time’ to start a family. I’d originally enquired about adoption four years ago while studying for my PhD which social workers advised I finished first. Now, I know that I can come back to a job that I love once the girls are settled and happy,” Karen says.

After applying online last June, Karen has found the support throughout each stage fantastic, praising the Rotherham adoption team’s knowledge and real-life experience which brought the interactive training to life.

The team have also helped Karen through the transition period which can be hard for adopters.

“I’d always imagined myself having girls and I instantly fell in love with the two sisters when I first read about them. By the time we met I felt like they were already mine which made it difficult seeing them with the foster family and going home alone.”

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Now a family of three, the girls love being outside, going to the park or seaside or just spending time with mum. They still have the occasional tantrum like most two-year-olds do but are very settled and loving and have started making progress in their development.

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For prospective adopters, Karen says the best approach is to be honest with social workers and be wary of forums which can often be very negative.

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“The process is very different for everyone; for me it was quick, smooth and enjoyable and I love the girls unconditionally regardless of DNA. But don’t be afraid to say no if something isn’t right for you – the support workers are there to help find a match.”

Rotherham Adoption Agency Tel: 01709 254005

52 drop-in information sessions

Rotherham Town Hall Thursday 19th July, 16th August and 20th September


Rotherham Adoption Agency @rmbcadoption

Find out more at our free drop-in information sessions

Rotherham Hospital Wednesday 18th July and 19th September 9.30am-2pm

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