Friday, July 08, 2016

The Telegraph & Argus is not optimistic about the future of the Red House Museum:
Campaigners may have to contemplate defeat.
Supporters who fought to keep Red House Museum open, may now have to resign themselves to very real fact that this community asset steeped in Brontë history may eventually close.
Reduced hours, the introduction of an entry fee and the promotion of the 1830s building, once home to the textile and banking Taylor family, in Oxford Road, Gomersal, as a wedding venue, were initiatives put in place to help boost the museum’s income after the initial threat to its future came four years ago when Kirklees Council was looking at ways to reduce its budget.
Now the museum is once again facing potential closure and while a decision has yet to be made, it appears the writing could well be on the wall.
Even Brontë enthusiast, Imelda Marsden, who fought tirelessly with fellow campaigners to retain Red House, has resigned herself to the fact that it may close.
Red House and Dewsbury Museum are currently under proposal for closure.
Imelda says it is ‘a shame’ that Red House may close and her concern now is that if it does, it won’t be left to stand empty.
She says she is currently in talks with a group who may want to take on the museum, featuring two windows she says are of historical interest and which she says belong to the Bronte Society, and keep it open to the public.
One idea they are focusing on is for it to become a women’s museum in honour of the early feminist, Mary Taylor, Charlotte Brontë’s life-long friend, who lived at Red House with her family,
“A couple of us would be interested in having it for a women’s museum or something for women because she was brilliant was Mary Taylor,” says Imelda.
The Grade II Listed building has been a museum since 1973 when it was bought by the Borough of Spenborough from Lord Shaw and his family, the last family to reside there. It came under Kirklees Council’s remit in 1974.
Imelda explains one of the instigators of Red House becoming a museum was the late poet, historian and past president of Spen Valley Historical Society, Mabel Ferrett.
“Mabel was brilliant, she was a lifelong member of the Brontë Society and she got it set up as a museum,” says Imelda.
Should the museum close, she says: “it is sad but it is one of those things.”
Jacqueline Ryder, chairman of the Friends of Red House - a support group set up when the museum was initially threatened with closure, says news of the closure proposal confirmed their ‘worst fears.’
“It is absolutely devastating, we are really upset,” says Jacqueline.
“We thought we could help to boost visitor numbers by putting on events and helping staff with events they came up with.
“We have raised a little bit of money but most of our activity was geared more towards raising the profile of Red House and boosting visitor numbers,” she says, referring to the 1940s tea dance and the forthcoming Flower Festival this weekend. (Sally Clifford)
Also in Dewsbury Reporter.

The Northern Echo reports the opening of the Norton Conyers archives:
Previously unseen archives from a stately home - which once inspired Charlotte Brontë and entertained Charles I - are to go on show.
North Yorkshire County Record Office’s Attics and Acres project opens up previously unseen archives of the Graham family of Norton Conyers, near Ripon.
The project is the subject of a one-day roadshow at Samwaies Hall, on Main Street, Wath on Saturday, July 16.
The project to catalogue and conserve the archive began last summer and involves 70 boxes spanning 600 years.
The roadshow will enable visitors to discover more about the collection, including finding out who was poisoned and who was the black sheep of the family.
Both Charles I and James II are said to have stayed at Norton Conyers and Charlotte Brontë is reputed to have used the house as a model for Thornfield Hall, in particular Mrs Rochester’s room in Jane Eyre. (Mark Foster)
Daily Express recommends books for kids this summer:
Mick Manning and Brita Granström have produced children’s books on Shakespeare, Dickens, Darwin and The Beatles. Now the duo have turned their attention to Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë, describing the sisters’ lives through a series of cartoons, documents and anecdotes.
The Brontës: Children of the Moors (Franklin Watts, £12.99) is fun and beautifully illustrated.  (Charlotte Heathcote)
The Barnstaple Patriot has an article about the long history of the local Cape Playhouse:
The gallery walls are lined with posters from shows dating back to the beginning, with stars including Patty Duke, Ruth Gordon, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy and David McCallum. Julie Harris signed a large poster advertising her exclusive one-night engagement in “Brontë” in 1988. She affectionately wrote, “This was one of the happiest times of my life... To the loveliest of theaters anywhere.” (Johanna Crosby)
Indiewire interviews Brett Jutkiewicz, cinematographer of Men Go To Battle:
One of our first discussions after I read the script was about the shooting format. Most of the visual references we discussed were shot on film: “Barry Lyndon” for its candlelit photography, Andrea Arnold’s “Wuthering Heights” for its camera movement and beautiful simplicity and “Breaking the Waves” for its visceral style and handheld camerawork. (Chris O'Falt)
La Croix (France) shares our fascination with the Brontës:
Charlotte, dont on fête le bicentenaire de la naissance, Emily et Anne ont construit avec leur frère Branwell une œuvre unique qui continue de fasciner, chacun ayant mené un chemin littéraire singulier en marge d’une vie tragique.
Il en va des trois sœurs Brontë comme des mousquetaires : ils sont quatre. À Charlotte, Emily et Anne, mondialement célèbres, il faut ajouter la compagnie créatrice de leur frère Branwell.
Ils furent les « rescapés » d’une fratrie de six, dans une famille à la destinée tragique. La mort de leur mère, Maria, en 1821, suivie de celles des deux aînées, Maria et Elizabeth, à onze et dix ans en 1825, précéderont celles d’Emily (à 30 ans en 1848), d’Anne (à 29 ans en 1849), et Charlotte (à 39 ans en 1855).
Leur centre de gravité est à Haworth (West Yorkshire), au presbytère jouxtant le cimetière qui a inspiré les murs de Wuthering Heights.
C’est là, « entre une nature quasi intemporelle et une civilisation rurale traditionnelle se transformant très lentement, que quatre enfants défient la mort en insufflant la vie aux créatures dont ils peuplent les mondes qu’ils inventent et dont ils consignent les aventures dans de petits carnets aux pages noircies de leur écriture microscopique imitant les caractères d’imprimerie », souligne l’universitaire Dominique Jean.
« Habitant une région reculée où l’éducation avait fait peu de progrès et où, par conséquent, rien ne nous incitait à nouer des liens au-delà du cercle familial, nous devions compter entièrement sur nous-mêmes, les livres et l’étude pour toutes les distractions et les occupations de notre vie », écrit Charlotte en 1850 sur Currer, Ellis et Acton Bell (pseudonymes masculins sous lesquels elles publièrent, conscientes de la difficulté pour des femmes de se faire éditer). (Read more) (Sabine Audrerie) (Translation)
MetroNews (France) recommends Andre Michael Hurley's The Loney:
Et pourquoi on devrait l'emmener dans nos bagages ?
Quand on aime la bonne littérature gothique et qu'on a lu et relu Les Hauts de Hurlevent, qu'est-ce qui reste ? (Translation)
The Independent considers Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea a 'pocketsize classic'; Memoirs of a Husk has gone to Top Withins; Vellichor Book Club and Gamobo post about Wuthering Heights; Books for Trees reviews Jane Steele;  Janruthblog interviews Luccia Gray, author of the Eyre Hall trilogy. AnneBronte.org discusses the letter from George Smith that eventually drive Charlotte and Anne to London.

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