Tributes to much-loved museum man Tony Sharpe

A popular museum attendant who worked at Shibden Hall for 30 years has died suddenly aged 60.

Tony Sharpe suffered a heart attack at his home in Northowram.

Colleagues in Calderdale Council’s museum service said his sudden death had left a big hole in the department.

Born in 1952 to parents Iris and Douglas, he was christened Douglas Antony but became known as Tony.

He grew up in Tewit Hall Gardens in Illingworth with his older sister Susan, and attended Whitehill School, Parkinson Lane and Highlands Grammar.

Tony was a well known face around Halifax’s pub and club scene in the 1970s, frequenting the Upper George, the Adega bar and working as a DJ at Clarence’s.

A talented singer, he also performed at venues around the town with close friend Dave Murgatroyd.

Tony worked at Philips in Hipperholme before commencing his long career in Halifax’s museums in the early 1980s.

He spent time working at Bankfield Museum and West Vale Civic Hall, but it was Shibden where he spent the majority of his career. He showed countless visitors around the hall, his passion for its history and its most famous resident, Anne Lister, never waning.

Lynn Grady, visitor services supervisor, said Tony was a much loved and well respected member of Calderdale Museums Service team.

“Based pre-dominantly at Shibden Hall during his long standing service, he developed a real thirst for knowledge about the hall and its very rich history, which over the years he always spoke passionately about to a vast array of visitors and colleagues across the council,” she said.

“He also acted as an excellent advocate for the service delivering top class talks to a variety of groups and associations, for which demand was always high. In Shibden Hall he always gave first class service to ensure our visitors had the very best experience, resulting in many coming back time and time again. Words cannot express how greatly he will be missed by us all.”

Recently he started the Facebook group ‘Old Photos of Halifax Part 2’, which has gained hundreds of members. He was a former chairman of the Halifax Aachen Society.

He leaves a daughter, Rebecca, 32, who said: “Many people have referred to my dad as Mr Shibden Hall.

“He was passionate about many things but it was his love of Shibden and local history that he will be remembered for. That and his love of music - he had a wonderful voice and an amazing skill for harmonies.

“He also had a great sense of humour and was looking forward to his retirement when he hoped to travel to Canada to see his good friend Dave, as well as spend time meeting his many friends.

“Last year he gave me away at my wedding, and he said it was one of the best days of his life. I will treasure the memory of his lovely speech and of how proud he was.”

He also leaves mother Iris, sister Susan and nephew Adam.

Tony’s funeral will take place at 9.30am on Tuesday at Halifax Minster, before a service at Park Wood Crematorium.