Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday, May 15, 2006 12:15 am by Cristina   No comments
Last February we briefly posted about a TV programme in the works by BBC TWO called The People's Museum and introduced by Paul Martin, where Haworth Parsonage would feature.

Sarah - from the Brontë List - kindly wrote a few days ago to let us know that the programme would be airing this month for the first time - starting to day May 15 - and that the Parsonage will be on air on May 30. We let you know now so that to have plenty of time to schedule around it and avoid missing it.

May is the Museums and Galleries Month in the UK and so this programme aims to boost visits and interest. In the Brontë Parsonage Museum the month is also celebrated with different talks.
In the programme, they nominate their favourites - the items that have either captured their imaginations or changed our world in some way.

But it is the public who have the final say. They can vote for an overall winner and place their favourite top 20 items into The People's Museum which exists both in the TV programme itself and on line at

Paul Martin said: "We have some fascinating artefacts with fabulous stories attached and for the first time ever the great British public will get the chance to vote for their favourite.

EDIT: The Brontë Parsonage Blog has a post on the selected item representing the Brontë Parsonage Museum: one of Charlotte's first little books. It's a very interesting post overall but let us highlight some paragraphs:

Charlotte's little book will be featured on 30 May. The object with the most votes will be proclaimed the winner on 9 June 2006, although featured objects will have a place in a virtual museum on the BBC’s history website. [...]
The tiny book, no bigger than the palm of a hand and measuring 42 x 64 mm, was believed to have been written by Charlotte between 1826 and 1829 when she was aged between 10 and 13, for her sister Anne. The book, bound in leather at a later date, is in immaculate condition and includes beautiful watercolour pictures and the original covers, which were made from tiny pieces of grey-flowered wallpaper. [...]

We encourage to to click on the images and enlarge them. You will see the little book much larger than it really is, but also all the tiny details.

Filming took place at the Parsonage earlier in the year with presenter Jules Hudson interviewing Librarian Ann Dinsdale, who explained to viewers the origin of the tiny book: how it was made, what it was made of and more importantly how Charlotte’s early writings influenced her most famous works:
"This little book is the earliest surviving manuscript by Charlotte Brontë and marks the beginning of her long apprenticeship in literature. It was an apprenticeship that would culminate twenty years later with the writing of Jane Eyre - one of the most popular books ever written.”
The presenter, Jules Hudson, is an historian and archaeologist who has presented Channel 4’s Time Team and the BBC’s Horizon programmes. He was fascinated by the little book whose writing is hardly readable. It is now rather fragile and delicate. Visitors to the Museum will be able to see the book on display at the Parsonage from June 2006.
This ‘little book’ originally belonged to Arthur Bell Nicholls, the husband of Charlotte Brontë. After his death most of his Brontë collection was sold in an auction in 1907. Unfortunately for the Brontë Society at the time the ‘little book’ was sold to a private American collector called Henry H. Bonnell. It resided with him until his death in 1926, finally ‘returning home’ in 1927 when it was kindly donated by Henry Bonnell’s family to the Parsonage, the place where it was written.

And while we were editing this post Sarah - always on the alert for Brontë news - sent us this link to the BBC where you can also see, and read about, the little book.

Presenter Jules Hudson says: "An incredibly small but important relic that so innocently maps out the beginnings of an extraordinarily talented woman’s life."
Ann Dinsdale, librarian, says: "It came naturally to the Brontës to write everything down."

Are you ready to start voting?! :D

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