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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.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.
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)
1. Mr. Darcy / Edward Rochester from Pride & Prejudice and Jane EyreA columnist from the Deseret News writes in defence of letter-writing, quoting from Charlotte Brontë:
It’s their quiet, stoic longing, the aching misunderstandings that come about when they keep their thoughts to themselves.
In 1839, Charlotte Bronte wrote out her heart in a letter to her dear school friend Ellen Nussey, following the death of her brother Bramwell and two of her sisters over a matter of months: “But crushed I am not — yet; nor robbed of elasticity nor of hope — nor quite of endeavor — Still I have some strength to fight the battle of life.”
Such words cannot be typed on an electronic device in an impersonal font and sent via email. They are too vital, too laden with emotions and truths. Yes, an email can be printed out, but it cannot be kept and archived as a true and living thing. (Susan Evans McCloud)
What is your favourite book – either fiction or non-fiction?I have always loved Jane Eyre. It is a passionate book, but yet it also has a happy end. Like my story. (Lucy Walton)
He taught me at RADA, directed me in Wuthering Heights and gave me my first job. He’s very straightforward and direct. He’ll say, “You’re doing it badly, just do it better.” (Rupert Hawksley)
Elizabeth Watasin presents a hauntingly beautiful Jane Eyre in watercolors with cool blue hallways and roaring red flames. (Andy Hughes)
A quick perusal of the popular hashtag #IWishICouldMeet on Twitter led to a couple of conclusions. First, more than anything, people want to meet Justin Bieber, although Jesus is a close second. And a lot of people would like to be able to be another person meeting themselves, or their true love, whoever that might be.
There didn't seem to be many bookish figures in the mix, so Tuesday morning we asked people on Twitter what authors or fictional characters they'd like to meet. [...]
@ToastThief: Author? Hunter S. Thompson; character? Antionette/Bertha from Wide Sargasso Sea/Jane Eyre. #IWishiCouldMeet (Carolyn Kellogg)
“I watch movies just for the great costumes,” Olivia says. Many are — no surprise — period dramas, like “Pride and Prejudice,” “Victoria and Albert,” “Jane Eyre,” “The Lost Prince” and “The King’s Speech,” which her mother incorporates into the children’s history curriculum. (Deborah Salomon)
Well, first of all there’s lots of television, including reruns of The Office, 30 Rock, the season finale of Downton Abbey, and several movie versions of Jane Eyre. (Lisa Gibalerio)Smitten's Book Blog interviews the author Cora Hawkes:
Smitten: What is your favorite book of all time?
Cora: I have a few.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon.