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 20 december 2014


First published in Memory Lane by                 
HAWORTH Old Hall, one of the village's oldest surviving buildings, is seen here in its more mundane guise as a farm. It is sometimes called Emmot Hall, having been bought in the 18th century by the Emmot family from over the Lancashire border, who however never lived in it but rented it out. In 1884 oatbread baker James Greenwood was living there. The hall's history remains obscure. "It is as though a sponge has been drawn across the records of Haworth Old Hall," comments an earlier local guide, "leaving its story empty." The poster on the wooden hut on the left is advertising a sale of quarry plant – a reminder of one of Haworth's former industries. keighleynews


vrijdag 19 december 2014

On December 19, 1848 Emily Brontë died of tuberculosis at her home at Haworth, Yorkshire, England at the age of thirty.

On December 19, 1848, English novelist and poet, Emily Brontë died of tuberculosis at her home at Haworth, Yorkshire, England at the age of thirty. 

Emily Brontë caught cold during her brother Branwell’s funeral and soon grew very thin and ill. Until the last moment, she said she would have “no poisoning doctor” near her. She is buried in the Church of St. Michael and All Angels family vault, Haworth, West Yorkshire.
Charlotte Brontë wrote about her younger sister’s death in a letter on Christmas Day, saying that she tried not to hear Emily’s constant “deep hollow cough”. literarycornercafe

Charlotte Brontë herself firmly believed that her sister had wanted to survive, regardless of brave words spoken in public about inexorable wills and no coward souls. "It was very terrible," she wrote to her friend Ellen concerning Emily's death. "She was torn conscious, panting, reluctant though resolute out of a happy life." (Letters, 229) In her grief, Charlotte could find only one consolation: that her sister no longer suffered.
... I will not now ask why Emily was torn from us in the fulness of our attachment, rooted up in the prime of her own days, in the promise of her powers – why her existence now lies like a field of green corn trodden down – like a tree in full bearing – struck at the root; I will only say, sweet is rest after labour and calm after tempest, and repeat again and again that Emily knows that now. (Letters, 219) claredunkle

Bronte museum's first home

By Alistair Shand .
THE Bronte Society, founded in 1893, housed its first museum on the upper floor of this prominent building at the top of Haworth Main Street, formerly the Yorkshire Penny Bank and now the Tourist Information Centre, before moving into the Parsonage in 1928.
The building at the top of Haworth Main Street where the Bronte Society housed its first museum. From 1889 there had been a privately-run Museum of Bronte Relics at Brown's Temperance Hotel and Refreshment Rooms in Main Street, an enterprise which also catered for picnic parties and sold Haworth views. Bronte tourism was getting into its stride by then, with hyperbolic touting of "the wildest and bleakest moors of Yorkshire" and a little village "consisting of a church and a few grey stone cottages", although one guide of 1899 more realistically called Haworth "an ever-expanding colony bisected by a railway". Advertisers played on the Brontes. The Black Bull Hotel was "close to the church and Bronte Museum", the King's Arms "opposite Bronte Museum and church" and the White Lion "next door to Bronte Museum". Notice, on the left side of the antique shop, the sign pointing towards Colne – a reminder of the narrow corners the traffic negotiated before the opening of the Main Street by-pass in 1974. The photograph has been supplied by Mr Kevin Seaton, of Shann Lane, Keighley. thetelegraphandargus

donderdag 18 december 2014

Sharon Griffiths talks to author Juliet Barker

Sharon Griffiths talks to author Juliet Barker about research, awards and why she will never leave Yorkshire
Juliet Barker is a Yorkshire woman through and through. Despite the fame and success she has achieved through her writing, she has never been even slightly tempted to move further than from the West Riding to Wensleydale. “Never,” she says firmly. “I can’t imagine living anywhere other than Yorkshire.”
It’s certainly been inspirational.
From her study window in a converted hay loft, she could gaze out at Penhill – “I couldn’t work anywhere without a view,” – and get down to work, usually at 4am, finishing her latest book. “The swallows would swoop in and around and out again as I worked.”Read all: thenorthernecho

dinsdag 16 december 2014

Charlotte's letters

The Letters of Charlotte Brontë: Volume Three 1852-1855 ed Margaret Smith

A sorry tale of deceit, corruption and literary con men

By Mark Bostridge

At the centre of it lies Ellen Nussey's disastrous decision to entrust her valuable cache of Charlotte's letters to the literary forger T J Wise. Ellen was a schoolgirl friend of Charlotte's from their days at Roe Head, and possessed the largest collection of her correspondence: 394 letters received from Charlotte over more than two decades.

Ellen had already prepared a private edition of the letters she owned in the late 1880s, but had got cold feet about the project and then destroyed practically all the sets of 30,000 printed sheets in a huge bonfire over many weeks, assisted by the minister of her local church. This left her as easy prey for Wise and his front man, the biographer and critic-about-town Clement Shorter. Together they extracted the originals from her for £125 and the promise that they would be preserved in the South Kensington Museum "to enhance the honour & reputation of their gloriously gifted writer". In fact, within a couple of years it became evident that Wise was selling the manuscripts piecemeal at auction.
With Charlotte's letters scattered to the four winds, and often untraceable, an authoritative edition of all the surviving correspondence became, as the years passed, increasingly unlikely. Margaret Smith, therefore, deserves the highest praise for the sheer doggedness with which she has pursued bits and pieces of letters through salerooms and private collections (most strikingly, she pieced together one letter, cut up for autograph hunters, from scraps in five separate locations). She is also a model editor. The standard of her annotations is superb, and no worthwhile cross-reference to the Brontës' lives or works is allowed to slip through her net. Read miore: arlindo-correia/bronte

Houses and family of George Smith.

Smith and Elder was founded in 1816 by George Smith (senior) (1789-1846) and Alexander Elder.  Both were born and raised in Scotland, but had moved to England to pursue opportunities in the publishing industry.  Their first publication registered with the Stationer’s Company was Sermons and Expositions of interesting portions of scripture by the Revd Dr John Morison.
In 1824 Smith & Elder moved from its original premises in Fenchurch Street, London, to 65 Cornhill, an address that was to give its name to the company’s magazine.  A third Partner was added and the business took on the permanent name of Smith, Elder & Co.  1824 also marked the birth of Smith’s first son, also named George Smith, who was later to take over the business from his father. nineteenth_century_literary_manuscripts
Photo: 65 Cornhill

 George Smith, one of the great Victorian publishers, whose lists at one time or another included most of the notable writers of the day, apart from Dickens. The firm of Smith, Elder had been founded by his father in 1816, but he had begun to take charge at the onset of his father’s fatal illness in 1844. The firm’s doomed attempt to promote G. P. R. James as a potential best-seller was an embarrassment behind him when his reader handed on enthusiastically the manuscript of Jane Eyre in the autumn of 1847. From then on he managed Charlotte’s literary and financial affairs with commitment, tact and, after the meeting of July 1848, personal warmth. From the early days of the relationship Charlotte realized that the favors worked both ways, and that she was Smith, Elder’s first big success in the league of major publishers: “it would chagrin me” Charlotte wrote to Smith about the third edition of Jane Eyre , which she had feared might hang fire, “to think that any work of ‘Currer Bell’s’ acted as a drag on your progress; my wish is to serve a contrary purpose . . .” (7 Nov 1848). A year later she could tell Ellen “I am proud to be one of his props” (19 Dec 1849). Her early descriptions of him focus on his appearance: “a distinguished, handsome fellow” (to MT, 4 Sep 1848) she calls him, and “elegant, handsome . . . pleasant” (ibid). blackwellreference

George Smith (1824-1901); his mother, Elizabeth Murray Smith (1797-1878); and his wife, Elizabeth Blakeway Smith, the daughter of a London wine merchant who George Smith married in 1854. Mrs Gaskell described her (to EN, 9 July 1856) as George’s “very pretty, Paulina-like little wife. ( Pauline one of the figures in Villette)

Smith lived at , having bought the lease from Lady Hermione Graham, a daughter of the twelfth Duke of Somerset. The house became known as 40, Park Lane.[3]
The lease continued in his family until 1915,[8] his widow remaining living there until May 1914, but in 1906, negotiations began for the redevelopment of the Somerset House site together with Camelford House.[10] The 2nd Duke of Westminster, as freeholder, was uneasy about allowing the two demolitions, "having regard to No. 40 having historical associations", but in the end he agreed to the scheme. Camelford House was demolished in 1913.[11] When Mrs Murray Smith left she claimed that the house possessed "vaults with chains in them", including a cell said to have been used for prisoners being taken to Tyburn, but when this was investigated by the Grosvenor estate surveyor, Edmund Wimperis, he found nothing of the kind.[1][12] 
Somerset House (No. 40): Warren Hastings and the 11th and 12th Dukes of Somerset[1]

He died at St. George's Hill, Byfleet, Surrey on 6 April 1901.
Photo: property/st-georges-hill/byfleet-road
Children of George Smith.
His son was George Murray Smith the Younger   George Murray Smith DL JP (4 February 1859 - 18 April 1919) was a chairman of the Midland Railway from 1911 until his death. He was educated at Harrow School; and Jesus College, Cambridge. In 1885 he married Ellen Strutt, youngest daughter of Edward Strutt, 1st Baron Belper. They had three sons, two of whom were killed during World War I, and a daughter. He was appointed a deputy lieutenant of Lancashire in April 1903.[1]

After 1894 Smith did leave the main control of the business in the hands of his younger son, Alexander Murray Smith (who retired from the partnership in 1899), and his youngest daughter’s husband, Reginald John Smith (1857–1916), who from 1899 was sole active partner and who, in 1908, rearranged the original 66 volumes of the Dictionary of National Biography into 22.  britannica

George Smith’s Brontëana collection

When George Smith died in 1901 he left to his widow the manuscripts of three of Charlotte’s novels: Jane Eyre, Shirley and Villette, as well as a large collection of letters, most from Charlotte, but also some from her father, and from Arthur Bell Nicholls. The manuscripts for Emily and Anne’s novels – published by Thomas Cautley Newby, and partly funded by them, to the tune of £50 per novel – have never been found, and were, presumably, destroyed by their publisher.

George Smith’s Brontëana collection eventually passed to his granddaughter Elizabeth Seton-Gordon, who in 1974 donated most of it to the Brontë Parsonage Museum. As well as the manuscripts and letters the collection included all the correspondence from Mrs Gaskell regarding her Life of Charlotte Brontë, and several drawings by Charlotte, passed on to George Smith’s son by Arthur Bell Nicholls’ second wife Mary.

With them was an astonishing find: a photograph, inscribed on the back: ‘Within a year of CB’s death’, and dated 1854, the year of Charlotte’s honeymoon. Whether it was a honeymoon picture, to match that of her husband taken at the same time, or whether it was intended by George Smith for an edition of one of Charlotte’s novels, is unknown. It is the only photograph in existence that is almost certainly of Charlotte. haworth-and-the-brontes/family-and-friends/george-smith


maandag 15 december 2014


Viola Case, a pioneer schoolteacher in Victoria, organized the Bronté Club, the oldest women's literary club in Texas, in 1855. The organization, originally named the Victoria Literary Club, was a literary society for the girls of her school, the Victoria Female Academy. The members collected eleven volumes of current literature, which were kept in a dry goods box under Mrs. Case's bed. On a certain day of each week the books were taken out and distributed to the girls. This embryonic lending library was the beginning of the Bronté Library, the predecessor of the Victoria Public Library. Until 1975, when it was placed under the management of the city and county of Victoria, the library was governed by the Library Committee of the Bronté Club.
During the 1860s the Bronté Club is said to have devoted more time to war relief than to literary study. The club was probably generally dormant until 1868, when the Sorosis Club was organized in New York City in protest against the all-male Press Club of New York City, which gave a banquet for the visiting Charles Dickens and invited no women. This event seems to have stirred up women's club spirit across the country. Though started as a school society, the Bronté Club was reorganized as a community club in 1873, became a school society again in 1878, and in 1880 was changed to a community club again. In 1880, because the literary club needed new members and wanted a more distinctive name, it accepted for the first time older girls and young married women and changed its name to Bronté Literary Club, in honor of Charlotte Brontë.
When the national movement for federation of women's clubs began, the Bronté Club sent a delegate, Mrs. A. B. Peticolas, wife of Alfred Brown Peticolas, to the first meeting of the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs, held in Tyler in 1898. The club's calendar for that year shows it as a member of this state organization, which joined the national General Federation of Women's Clubs in 1899. On May 9, 1884, the Bronté Club had authorized the Junior Bronté Literary Club, a new group that was reorganized as the Currer Bell Study Club, named after the pseudonym of Charlotte Brontë, on May 1, 1951.
The Bronté Club dropped "literary" from its title in its Year Book of 1901–02, although it continued to emphasize literature in its programs. The Year Book of 1905–06 stated that the club's objectives were to promote the "mental and social culture of its members," an "altruistic spirit," and philanthropic endeavors, as well as "the interests of State and Fifth District Federation." Due to its broadened purposes, the club offered a wide variety of programs through the years about subjects ranging from civics to philosophy. Among the Bronté Club's civic projects was the sponsorship of a lecture by Eleanor Roosevelt in December 1940, which a crowd of 2,500 attended. Mrs. Roosevelt subsequently wrote in her column "My Day" about her visit to Victoria and "one of the oldest women's clubs in the country." The club continued to contribute both funds and books to its original civic work, the Victoria Public Library. It was made an honorary member of the library, and an appointed club member serves on the library's advisory board. The Bronté Club celebrated its centennial on April 3, 1973.
Bronté Club Files, Victoria, Texas. Leopold Morris, Pictorial History of Victoria and Victoria County (San Antonio, 1953). Victoria Advocate, April 6, 8, 1923, December 5, 1940. Texas Federation of Women's Clubs Year Book, 1935. articles/BRONTE CLUB

Bronte Parsonage Museum
Interesting to learn that the Bronte Club in Victoria, Texas, is nearly 40 years older than the Bronte Society in Haworth, West Yorkshire!

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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