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

zaterdag 11 januari 2014

Brontë Parsonage Museum

Keighley News allows us to peek inside the Brontë Parsonage Museum during the busy time that is the closed period.
Brontë Parsonage Museum is closed to the public throughout January – but it is the busiest time of the year for staff. Workers have only a few weeks to check every item in the Haworth museum and prepare new displays.They are not only creating a major temporary exhibition, but will also refresh exhibits in the permanent galleries.
The museum’s closed season, at the beginning of January each year, will last longer than usual this time, until at least February 20.
Collections manager, Ann Dinsdale, said the extra time was required due to the amount of work needed to be carried out.  She added: “We’re updating the foyer and shopping area to improve our service to visitors. “People can only come in through the front door of the Parsonage, so they’re exposed to the elements if they have to queue.
“In future, they will be able to buy a ticket at the desk in the foyer then make their way round to the front, so they can still get the experience of going through the front door.”
Museum staff were this week taking down the 2013 special exhibition, which featured Bronte household items, in readiness to install the 2013 exhibition, which explores the Brontë family’s links with animals.  Ann said: “We also have our exhibition upstairs, which tells the stories of the Brontës’ lives and how they came to write their works. We change some of the items on display each year. “There’s a huge amount of work that goes on. I think people imagine the winter is a quiet time for us, but it’s probably the busiest time. “It’s the only time of year when we can do work, such as decorating or maintenance. Everything is cleaned. We check the entire collection for any deterioration, including the furniture. We have to be very watchful for the woodwork, cracks, veneers.”
During the closed season, expert conservators examine items acquired by the Brontë Society during the previous 12 months, before they go on public display. (David Knights)

dinsdag 7 januari 2014

Top Withens circa 1960.

 Top Withens circa 1960. This image appears on the information board located at Top Withens. — bij Top Withens. facebook/The-Brontes

zondag 5 januari 2014

Haworth and Oakworth to feature in television series

Keighley News: The Bronte Parsonage Museum
Professor Ann Sumner, executive director of the Bronte Society, said the filming took place in May last year. She added: “I did an interview with Michael about the Brontes’ relationship with the railways, and his visit has prompted us to have a new display on this subject in 2014.
“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

Emily Bronte was good at investing in the stock market.
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

Branwell Bronte obtained employment with the Manchester and Leeds Railway
Initially as 'assistant clerk in charge' at Sowerby Bridge railway station,[3] where he was paid £75 per annum (paid quarterly).[9] Later, on 1 April 1841, he was promoted to 'clerk in charge' at Luddendenfoot railway station,[3] where his salary increased to £130.[wiki/Branwell


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

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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