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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Brussels Times has a very interesting article on 'The Napoleon relic that Charlotte Brontë picked up in Brussels' by Helen MacEwan.
Charlotte Brontë took back to England not just a throng of impressions and emotions, but a travelling trunk packed with Brussels mementoes, the most treasured of which were gifts from Heger. He had presented his star pupil with books and copies of stirring, patriotic speeches he had made at the annual prize-giving for pupils at the Athénée Royal, the prestigious boys’ school where he taught.
But Charlotte’s trunk also contained a more unexpected offering from her tutor, a piece of wood measuring about ten by two centimetres that would look utterly insignificant did it not bear an inscription in ink that read “morceau du cercueil de Ste. Hélène”.
This tiny strip of wood, now one of the most curious items in the Brontë Parsonage Museum, is a fragment from the coffin of Napoleon Bonaparte, who had been buried in 1821 on his island exile of St Helena.
How did Heger come to own a relic that Napoleon devotees would have been thrilled to have in their possession? Happily, it is possible to trace the intriguing and somewhat circuitous route by which it came into his hands and thence to Charlotte Brontë’s.
The relic had a paper wrapping which has been conserved in the Brontë Museum and on which Charlotte wrote: “August 4th 1843 - Brussels – Belgium - 1 o'clock pm. Monsieur Heger has just been into the 1st Class and given me this relic – he brought it from his intimate friend Mr Lebel. Mr Lebel was the Secretary of the Prince Achille Murat; the Prince de Joinville, son of King Louis Philippe, brought over the remains of Bonaparte from St Helena.” (Read more)

EDIT: The Brussels Brontë Blog also reports about the article. 

Time Out reports that the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway is about to change.
Keighley in Bradford, Yorkshire was among over 50 towns and cities across the UK that won funding from the government in the third round of its levelling-up scheme. Now it plans to use that cash to regenerate its historic Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and transform it into a major commuter route. 
The five-mile heritage railway line opened in 1867. Travelling through landscapes made famous by the Bronte sisters, it has featured in dozens of films and TV shows, including both the 1970 and 2022 adaptations of ‘The Railway Children’. 
With almost £20 million in funding to spend over the next ten years, Bradford Council plans for the heritage railway to become a ‘major transport hub and commuter route’. Signalling along the line, which links with national rail services at Keighley, will be upgraded to allow more trains to run and its fleet of diesel locomotives will be revamped. 
The council is also using the funding to create a robotics and engineering research institute in Keighley town centre. 
Bradford council leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: ‘The town has a proud engineering and manufacturing tradition. This is such an exciting project which will enhance Keighley’s engineering, manufacturing and economic role in the region, putting it at the forefront of UK innovation.’ (Amy Houghton)
Coincidentally, The Railway Children is also included on a list of The Dalesman team's favourite Yorkshire films.
Made in West Yorkshire, this classic utilised the Keighley and Worth Valley railway, noticeably the stretch between Keighley and Oxenhope. The Edwardian-style Oakworth station held a starring role, and north of the station Bents Farm stood in for the ‘Three Chimneys’. The village of the film was Haworth, while the doctor’s house was the renowned Brontë Parsonage Museum! Mytholmes Tunnel was used for the paper chase scene and the famous landslide, where the girls warned the train with their petticoats. [...]
The adaptation of Emily Brontë’s novel centred itself around North Yorkshire. This particular Wuthering Heights building was located north of Grassington, and the palatial Broughton Hall (north of Skipton) stood in for Thrushcross Grange – home of Edgar Linton. Heathcliff worked in the tithe barn of the seventeenth-century manor house, East Riddlesden Hall, Keighley, while the narrative’s wild moors were filmed around Malham Cove. Aysgarth Falls set the scene for Cathy and Heathcliff’s declarations of love.
The best book writer Sara M. Saleh ever received is a copy of Wide Sargasso Sea according to this interview on Russh.


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