Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Brontë Country


After watching the BBC's superb bio-pic about the Brontës, To Walk Invisible, back in December last year, I decided that when we were next in Lancashire we would nip across the county-line into West Yorkshire and visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum.



Well, that's what we did during last week's half-term holiday and I was so pleased that we went as its a place I've longed to visit, especially after reading and re-reading all the Brontë sisters' books ever since my teens. 

Haworth Parsonage - the Brontë's family home between 1820 and 1861 - was sold after the death of the Reverend Patrick Brontë, with all the family's possessions and furniture also being sold off soon afterwards. Although the parsonage was modernised by a later nineteenth century inhabitant (including Charlotte's earlier remodelling of some of the rooms), it essentially remains the same structurally since the Brontës. Luckily, the parsonage was brought for the Brontë Society in 1927 by a benefactor and has been run as a museum ever since. Over the decades, the Society have been able to acquire a significant amount of the Brontës' fascinating personal effects and furniture, which are all on display.



Once inside the parsonage, we were allowed to take photos but only without the flash, which explains why some of my photos are a bit grainy. 

The above is the dining room where the Brontë sisters did most of their writing at the table pictured, witnessed by its scratches, ink stains, a candle burn and Emily's initial carved into it.



These photos were taken on the stairs with their worn stone steps; including a niche where a longcase clock is positioned. This is the original clock that Reverend Brontë used to wind up each night before going to bed.



Upstairs are all the bedrooms, including a little room (above left) which was known as 'The Children's Study' before it later became Emily's bedroom. One wall still has pencil marks on it from when the sisters and their brother Branwell, were children.

The blue-coloured room was Charlotte's bedroom (she also died here) and is painted in the exact same colour as when Charlotte used it. It also contains lots of displays showing Charlotte's possessions such as her shoes, letters to her friend Ellen Nussey, her wedding bonnet and drawings.



From this we went into Bramwell's dark and tiny room and then into a larger room, which housed more exhibits including first edition copies of the sisters' novels, their art and needlework boxes, paintings, sketches and even the brass collars worn by their dogs, Flossy and Keeper. 




A letter signed by 'Currer Bell' aka Charlotte Brontë

Also on show was a brooch containing Anne's hair, a lock of Charlotte's hair and a spotted handkerchief belonging to Anne, which was stained with her blood - probably from her TB.



Afterwards, we made our way down a cobbled lane past the churchyard, which was crammed full with gravestones.




I'm glad that the weather was drizzly and very misty during our visit as it made the parsonage and graveyard so atmospheric. 



Haworth itself is a pretty village with its period stonework buildings and it didn't seem to be too 'touristy' either - probably because we made our visit in the winter rather than the summer! 



It has some lovely independent shops too like The Cabinet of Curiosities, which sells soaps, bath salts and lots of other fabulous things all housed in an amazing apothecary shop interior.




Not forgetting Monkeychild's favourite shop of all...



...Mrs' Beighton's Sweet Shop crammed full of sweets - I chose the liquorice torpedoes!


This is what I imagine Stella Gibbons' 'Cold Comfort Farm' to look like!

On our way back to Preston, we had a few stop-offs to admire the wild moorland landscapes, which are truly beautiful and have left me feeling inspired to paint them.



P.S. Do you have a favourite Brontë novel, if so which one?

I think mine would be 'Wuthering Heights', closely followed by 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall'.



7 comments :

  1. Wow looks like you had a wonderful time.

    Julie xxxxxxx

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  2. Withering Heights would be my favourite too.I have never read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall but it has been chosen by someone in my Reading Group to read later in the year.

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  3. I hate to say it but I never got into the Brontes, how I got an English Literature A Level I'll never know!
    Haworth looks absolutely enchanting and the house, with all it's personal treasures, is right up my street! xxx

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  4. That was a fantastic pictorial tour round thank you. Its a few years since we were there and it was very busy so it must have been in the summer. Must put it back on the to do list xxx

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  5. It looks very atmospheric. I enjoyed To Walk Invisible too, my favourite is Jane Eyre.

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  6. I like Wuthering Heights, but I can't stand Jane Eyre.

    Howarth does indeed look very pretty. Not nearly as wild as the 'Heights'.

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  7. Thanks for taking us to Haworth. What a fascinating place the Brönte museum is. I've only read Wuthering Heights, which I liked. There was a copy of Vilette, a Dutch translation, in my dad's library, which I took home but have yet to read. Love the photo of Cold Comfort Farm. That's exactly how I think it looks too ... xxx

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