I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

donderdag 21 februari 2013

Short-sighted Decision Makers

Bronte birthplace, Thornton Village
In Market Street is the birthplace of the Bronte sisters (and their wayward brother). The datestone above the door reads 'A J S 1802'.
 (FROM): Bronte blog has received the following article from last night's Telegraph and Argus from the Brontë Birthplace Trust chairman, Steve Stanworth. It's appalling.
A Bradford councillor broke down in tears as she tried to respond to the news that Bradford Council has declined to save the Thornton birthplace of the Brontës.
Thornton& Allerton Conservative Councillor Valerie Binney wrote the original letter appealing to the Council for financial support to help Brontë Birthplace Trust buy the property and preserve it as part of Bradford's cultural heritage.
"I felt extreme disappointment.I could have cried. We worked so hard," she said and then did, briefly, break down in tears.
The Council said if it had made an offer for the doublefronted house in Market Street it might have jeopardised the Trust's bid for £239,000 of lottery cash.
Steve Stanworth, chairman of the Brontë Birthplace Trust said: "I received a phone call from Sheilagh O'Neill from the Council's regeneration department. The official line is they cannot justify lending or giving us the money for the Brontë Birthplace. This is due to a political decision.
"They say the property wouldn't be of interest to them and they don't believe it could be a going concern. I am extremely disappointed and frustrated, when we see the amount of wasted money on speed bumps, cycle races and events that are fleeting.
"This sums up the Council's attitude and goes against the Big Society the Government is trying to foster. We are now left in a bad position once again."
Coun Binney said: "The tourism department doesn't think a Brontë museum in Thornton is viable because everybody goes to Haworth. People we meet seem to think the Brontë sisters were born in Haworth.
"If I had the money I would buy the house myself. Somebody wants to buy it to turn it into a bistro. It used to be a restaurant and that didn't work."
The decision was taken by three executive committee members of the council: Council leader David Green, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe and Councillor Andrew Thornton.
Coun Thornton, who holds the portfolio for environment, sport and sustainability, said: "We explored a number of ways in which we might offer assistance for the Brontë Birthplace Trust to make an offer for the property.
"However, as the Council has no interest in acquiring the building for itself we were not satisfied that this was a justifiable use of public money or a reasonable intervention for us to make in competition with any private individual seeking to purchase the property.
"Government cuts to the Council's budget together with a national and local contraction in public grant aid continues to put severe pressure on our existing cultural estate. Adding to those pressures with an open ended commitment to an unquantified scheme cannot be justified.
"We will continue to offer support to the Brontë Birthplace Trust as it pursues its Heritage Lottery Fund bid for its project."
The Trust, which meets tomorrow at the Blue Boar pub in Thornton, near St James's Church, at 7pm, will have to think again.
Mr Stanworth said: "Perhaps our best bet is to try to fast-track our Heritage Lottery Fund bid. This usually takes six months. "If we do get someone to buy the property, we have to be careful how this affects the funding status. I was hoping to bring good news to the meeting, but this puts a different light on it. We are back at square one." (Jim Greenhalf)
Steve asks readers to 'please feel free to vent your displeasure via the link to the letters page of the Telegraph and Argus'. And rightly so. We expect letters to the council, etc., would also be welcome. A pat on the back to these short-sighted decision-makers. Hopefully the members of the Trust will come up with something that allows them to save the birthplace.
Although, according to Miss Firth's diary, Mrs. Bronte 
appears to have had some social enjoyment and exchanged 
visits with her neighbours, in company with her husband and 
her sister, Miss Elizabeth Branwell, she must have had a very 
busy life with her young family. Her second child was only 
a few months old when she went to Thornton, and before she 
left, five years afterwards, the family had increased to six. 
There was not a room in the house that could well be spared 
for a nursery. Miss Branwell, who was with Mrs. Bronte 
when Charlotte was born, and for some months afterwards, 
needed accommodation, and, with the general servant and 
nursemaid, there was a household of eleven in this little 
parsonage. Mrs. Bronte must have been a very capable 
manager for her husband to be able to say that his happiest
days were spent at Thornton. 
It was during his stay here that he published a small volume
The Cottage in the Wood, 
or the Art of becoming rich and happy and he has also been 
credited with a story which formed another volume The 
Maid of Killarney, or Albion and Flora, a tale, in which are 
interwoven some cursory remarks on religion and politics. 
No author's name is attached to the book. Altogether Patrick 
Bronte could now claim to be the writer of four small volumes ; 
they were, however, such that literature would not have been 
much the poorer if he had never published them, but they 
show evidence of a thoughtful mind, and if too didactic they 
are artless and sincere. In a small house filled with children, 
with a husband busy with writing and preparing sermons, 
Mrs. Bronte's task must have been by no means an easy one. 
It is noticeable that Mr. Bronte did not publish any 
poems after he lived at Thornton ; the muse from this point 
appears to have left him. 

The old servants of the Thornton Vicarage Nancy and 
Sarah Garrs had nothing but kind remembrances of Mr. and 
Mrs. Bronte. Shortly after the family went to reside at 
Thornton, Mrs. Bronte felt it necessary to engage a second 
servant, and Mr. Bronte applied to the Bradford School of 
Industry. It was thus that Nancy Garrs became nurse in 
the Bronte family, and she was with Mrs. Bronte when Charlotte 
Emily Jane, Patrick Branwell, and Anne were born. 

Nancy Garrs married a Patrick Wainwright, and the old 
nurse was proud in after years to tell how Patrick Bronte 
entered the kitchen one day at Haworth, saying : " Nancy 
is it true, what I have heard, that you are going to marry a 
Pat?"" It is," replied Nancy,"and if he prove but a tenth 
part as kind a husband to me as you have been to Mrs. Bronte, 
I shall think myself very happy in having made a Pat my 

In the footsteps of the Brontes. 
can read more of this period 
Patrick Bronte called
" My happiest days were spent there." 

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The Parlour

The Parlour



Charlotte Bronte

Presently the door opened, and in came a superannuated mastiff, followed by an old gentleman very like Miss Bronte, who shook hands with us, and then went to call his daughter. A long interval, during which we coaxed the old dog, and looked at a picture of Miss Bronte, by Richmond, the solitary ornament of the room, looking strangely out of place on the bare walls, and at the books on the little shelves, most of them evidently the gift of the authors since Miss Bronte's celebrity. Presently she came in, and welcomed us very kindly, and took me upstairs to take off my bonnet, and herself brought me water and towels. The uncarpeted stone stairs and floors, the old drawers propped on wood, were all scrupulously clean and neat. When we went into the parlour again, we began talking very comfortably, when the door opened and Mr. Bronte looked in; seeing his daughter there, I suppose he thought it was all right, and he retreated to his study on the opposite side of the passage; presently emerging again to bring W---- a country newspaper. This was his last appearance till we went. Miss Bronte spoke with the greatest warmth of Miss Martineau, and of the good she had gained from her. Well! we talked about various things; the character of the people, - about her solitude, etc., till she left the room to help about dinner, I suppose, for she did not return for an age. The old dog had vanished; a fat curly-haired dog honoured us with his company for some time, but finally manifested a wish to get out, so we were left alone. At last she returned, followed by the maid and dinner, which made us all more comfortable; and we had some very pleasant conversation, in the midst of which time passed quicker than we supposed, for at last W---- found that it was half-past three, and we had fourteen or fifteen miles before us. So we hurried off, having obtained from her a promise to pay us a visit in the spring... ------------------- "She cannot see well, and does little beside knitting. The way she weakened her eyesight was this: When she was sixteen or seventeen, she wanted much to draw; and she copied nimini-pimini copper-plate engravings out of annuals, ('stippling,' don't the artists call it?) every little point put in, till at the end of six months she had produced an exquisitely faithful copy of the engraving. She wanted to learn to express her ideas by drawing. After she had tried to draw stories, and not succeeded, she took the better mode of writing; but in so small a hand, that it is almost impossible to decipher what she wrote at this time.

I asked her whether she had ever taken opium, as the description given of its effects in Villette was so exactly like what I had experienced, - vivid and exaggerated presence of objects, of which the outlines were indistinct, or lost in golden mist, etc. She replied, that she had never, to her knowledge, taken a grain of it in any shape, but that she had followed the process she always adopted when she had to describe anything which had not fallen within her own experience; she had thought intently on it for many and many a night before falling to sleep, - wondering what it was like, or how it would be, - till at length, sometimes after the progress of her story had been arrested at this one point for weeks, she wakened up in the morning with all clear before her, as if she had in reality gone through the experience, and then could describe it, word for word, as it had happened. I cannot account for this psychologically; I only am sure that it was so, because she said it. ----------------------She thought much of her duty, and had loftier and clearer notions of it than most people, and held fast to them with more success. It was done, it seems to me, with much more difficulty than people have of stronger nerves, and better fortunes. All her life was but labour and pain; and she never threw down the burden for the sake of present pleasure. I don't know what use you can make of all I have said. I have written it with the strong desire to obtain appreciation for her. Yet, what does it matter? She herself appealed to the world's judgement for her use of some of the faculties she had, - not the best, - but still the only ones she could turn to strangers' benefit. They heartily, greedily enjoyed the fruits of her labours, and then found out she was much to be blamed for possessing such faculties. Why ask for a judgement on her from such a world?" elizabeth gaskell/charlotte bronte

Poem: No coward soul is mine

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the worlds storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heavens glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

O God within my breast.
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life -- that in me has rest,
As I -- Undying Life -- have power in Thee!

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move mens hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast Rock of immortality.

With wide-embracing love
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.

There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou -- Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.

Emily Bronte

Family tree

The Bronte Family

Grandparents - paternal
Hugh Brunty was born 1755 and died circa 1808. He married Eleanor McClory, known as Alice in 1776.

Grandparents - maternal
Thomas Branwell (born 1746 died 5th April 1808) was married in 1768 to Anne Carne (baptised 27th April 1744 and died 19th December 1809).

Father was Patrick Bronte, the eldest of 10 children born to Hugh Brunty and Eleanor (Alice) McClory. He was born 17th March 1777 and died on 7th June 1861. Mother was Maria Branwell, who was born on 15th April 1783 and died on 15th September 1821.

Maria had a sister, Elizabeth who was known as Aunt Branwell. She was born in 1776 and died on 29th October 1842.

Patrick Bronte married Maria Branwell on 29th December 1812.

The Bronte Children
Patrick and Maria Bronte had six children.
The first child was Maria, who was born in 1814 and died on 6th June 1825.
The second daughter, Elizabeth was born on 8th February 1815 and died shortly after Maria on 15th June 1825. Charlotte was the third daughter, born on 21st April 1816.

Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls (born 1818) on 29th June 1854. Charlotte died on 31st March 1855. Arthur lived until 2nd December 1906.

The first and only son born to Patrick and Maria was Patrick Branwell, who was born on 26th June 1817 and died on 24th September 1848.

Emily Jane, the fourth daughter was born on 30th July 1818 and died on 19th December 1848.

The sixth and last child was Anne, born on 17th January 1820 who died on 28th May 1849.

Top Withens in the snow.

Top Withens in the snow.



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