“Mr Portillo was charming, very enthusiastic and it was a pleasure to welcome him to the Parsonage on what was a beautiful, sunny day.” She said the interview examined subjects such as the Bronte sisters’ experience of travelling on what was then a novel form of transport, Branwell Bronte’s stint as a railway employee, and the role the railway played in making Haworth a tourist destination. keighleynews
Try to get your head around the fact that the real Emily Bronte was good at investing in the stock market. Not only that, but she invested her own and her sisters' money in railway shares - the dotcom stocks equivalent of the 1840s - and managed the investment attentively. A surviving letter from supposedly more worldly Charlotte is full of praise for Emily's careful reading of the newspapers for items of railway industry news. theguardian
The British Railway Mania of the 1840s was a giant event.
At its height, individual capital- ists, in pursuit of private proﬁt, were plowing more than twice as much into the construction of a public infrastructure as their nation was spending on the military. (It should be noted that the Pax Britannica was not cheap. Among other foreign adventures, Britain had just a few years earlier been involved in the First Opium War and the First Afghan War.) During the peak year for spending, 1847, their investments came, as a fraction of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to the equivalent of over $1 trillion dollars for the United States today. (If we compare their expenditure to total government spending, federal, state, and local, and not to GDP, it was equivalent to over $3 trillion dollars. Taxes, which might be thought of as proportional to discretionary incomes, were far lower at that time than today.) All the funding came from individuals making private decisions to commit their funds to the new enterprise. Those investors, most new to share markets, involved such scientiﬁc and literary luminaries as Charles Darwin, Charles Babbage, John Stuart Mill, the Bronte sisters and William Makepeace Thackeray, as well as such prominent politicians (directly or through their close families) as Disraeli, Gladstone, Palmerston, and Peel. Many famous ﬁgures were involved with the Mania.
Charlotte Bronte could aﬀord a relatively calm view of the situation, since by the time of that letter she had achieved literary success, with her novel Jane Eyre one of the best- sellers of 1847. But most railway shareholders could not, and neither could she have had a few years earlier. There was wide dismay among railway investors, who once had had high hopes for riches, and instead were faced with ruin. Although railway shares did recover from the depths reached in late 1849, they were not regarded as having properly rewarded those who bought them and made the railway system possible4. google/Britisch railway mania
I am always surprised, when I read how free, without male escort, the Bronte Sisters could travel by train
or by carriage through the country and abroad. I always thought it was not allowed in the Victorian period. I'll search the Internet for an answer. What was the situation in the period 1800 - 1900 when a woman wanted to travel? Part 1