Friday, February 22, 2013

The Yorkshire Post has an article on the Brontë birthplace debacle. However, the article (and also a video) seems to have been written before the fact that it has already been sold was known.
Supporters of the idea have pointed out that the property could be snapped up for £130,000 – substantially less than Bradford Council forked out for the Tour de France.
But Councillor Andrew Thornton, executive member for environment, said yesterday: “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 is not in a position to acquire 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 assets.
“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 they pursue external funding bids for their project.”
Trust chairman Steve Stanworth said: “We are of course extremely disappointed.
“Our initial thoughts are the council are not supporting a local community in its bid to claim its rightful place on the Brontë way.
“We now have to regroup and press on with our Heritage Lottery Fund bid.
“We still hold out lingering hopes someone will invest in the project.”
A monthly update meeting at the Blue Boar in Thornton this evening will determine the trust’s next move, he added.
But local councillor Valerie Binney, who had asked council bosses to buy the house, is already convinced that a huge opportunity has been missed.
She said: “I was extremely disappointed with the council’s response especially the Tourism and Cultural department who said they did not want the Brontë birthplace.
“We get lots of tourists from Japan and America and local walkers visiting Thornton to see the house on Market Street where the famous sisters were born and to visit the Old Bell Chapel where Patrick Brontë preached.
“Patrick said that the five years he spent in Thornton were some of the happiest of his life.”
Mr Stanworth is also leader of the group that is restoring the Bell Chapel, which contains the font where Patrick baptised his children.
Coun Binney added: “It is very shortsighted of the council when the Government has just announced a fund for keeping our history alive.
“We could have offered a Brontë visitor package tour beginning with the birthplace and the Bell Chapel then up to the Parsonage at Haworth – not just for coach parties but for walkers on the Brontë Way.
“There are a lot of disappointed Thornton residents and associates about this.”
Another sad news: several news outlets report that 'the Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre in Taunton has gone into administration'. As The Stage says,
“Even with regular high attendances, such as our final performance of Hull Truck Theatre’s Jane Eyre last night, which sold out weeks ago, the economy of scale no longer works in our favour.” (Nicola Merrifield)
The Flintshire Chronicle reports that Brontë country is a marketing model:
Part of Flintshire could be named ‘Pennant Country’ in a bid to rival popular tourist destinations including Brontë Country.
The idea is the brainchild of the Thomas Pennant Society who want the 18th-century naturalist, historian and travel writer Thomas Pennant to receive greater recognition in his native county.
In the West Yorkshire Pennines there is Brontë Country where the Brontë sisters lived and wrote their famous novels, Hardy Country in Dorset is home to author Thomas Hardy’s birthplace and his later home and if the society gets its wish Holywell and the north Flintshire area could soon be known as ‘Pennant Country’. (Kathryn Quayle)
The Mirror on the latest goings-on on Emmerdale:
 Meanwhile, at Emmerdale’s book club, the topic is Jane Eyre – and Bob and Brenda proceed to get well and truly Brontied. (Jane Simon)

Musical theatre actor Michael Ball picks his favourite albums for Express:
Kate Bush: The Whole Story (EMI)
You forget just how brilliant, unique, innovative and current her stuff still is.
If you need an introduction to what she’s about this is a great place to start. I remember watching Top Of The Pops when she did Wuthering Heights and thinking: “What is this extraordinary creature?”
A software engineer who 'grew up on a diet of Dickens, George Orwell and Emily Brontë' in the Deccan Herald. Book Hunter posts about Wuthering Heights in Finnish. Rebecca Heflin includes both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre on her 'top five most romantic novels of all time'. BookRiot offers a few suggestions to read after Jane Eyre and The Picky Girl discusses Jane Eyre retellings. Bookends posts about the Brontës. Sharon the Librarian reviews Tina Connolly's Ironskin.

EDIT: An alert from the Brontë Parsonage Museum itself:

The Lion, The Spectacles and the Bracelet
Drop by for this free family talk and walk, at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm
February 22nd 2013 12:00pm - 03:00pm

What can three simple objects tell us about the Brontës? Education Officer Sue Newby shows three very different objects from the Brontë collection, then leads a short walk to the churchyard, to discover a little about life and death in Haworth in the Brontës' day.


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