Clifton Park Museum
Clifton House was built for Joshua and Susannah Walker in 1783
It was designed by the Yorkshire architect John Carr, with additional work added at a later date by Rotherham architect John Platt. It is listed Grade II* due to the many original features still intact.
The Walker family lived here until 1861, when Henry Walker died. After his death the house was bought by William Owen who died 1881. In 1883 the house and grounds were put up for auction for redevelopment but failed to meet the reserve. In 1891 the house was sold to Rotherham Corporation for £23,000 for use as a Municipal Park. The park was opened by the Prince of Wales (Edward VIII) in 1891 with grand celebrations, with the Museum opening in 1893. Many of the early collections were made up of items donated and lent by local people.
When it was first built Clifton Park was well outside the town in what was agricultural land. The private grounds covered all the area now used as a public park. There was a fishpond, an icehouse and some of the land was let for grazing. The main entrance was roughly where it is now, but there was a wall and gates to hide the stables and kitchen garden. The main entrance was moved in the 19th century to make a private carriage drive up the hill, with the main gates on the corner. The alterations meant that the house was now facing the wrong way.
In 1973 the old outbuildings and servants quarters were demolished and a new extension was built on the same ground plan. The courtyard was roofed over and new galleries, stores, offices and visitor facilities were provided. The soot-blackened stonework of the 18th century house was also cleaned so that it matched the new stone of the extension.
The ghostly figure of a little girl in Victorian clothing has been spotted frequently around the shop area.
Another Victorian child (a boy) has also been seen more than once around Christmas time and he appears to be enjoying watching the Christmas carol singers. He even appeared to step aside for people walking past.
A couple who lived opposite the museum have seen a Victorian child frequently looking through the windows, even when the museum was closed for refurbishments. Both children were of poor appearance which indicates they were probably not part of the Walker family.