On Monday 19th February a group of third years students studying the Victorian novel visited the Bronte Parsonage Museum at Haworth. The parsonage was the home of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte and the place where they wrote their most famous works including Jane Eyre (1847), Wuthering Heights (1847) and the lesser-known text which students have been studying this semester, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848)
Having braved the somewhat ‘wuthering’ conditions on the moors on the bus journey, students got to see the house as it would have been furnished when the Bronte family lived in it, as well as having time to explore the many bookshops, chocolate shops, and cafes in Haworth village.
Creative Writing and English Literature student Eve Gould said that ‘By coming here and seeing the rooms while you study the novels, you can see objects which are mentioned in the books and which might not be as you had imagined. In the exhibition room there’s a stained glass window which is described in Shirley.’
‘Those windows would be seen by daylight to be of brilliantly-stained glass, purple and amber the predominant hues, glittering round a gravely-tinted medallion in the centre of each, representing the suave head of William Shakespeare, and the serene one of John Milton.’ – Charlotte Bronte, Shirley (1849)
Third year student Emma Walsh said ‘Trips like this really help you get a feel for the things being described. Obviously the Brontes are talking about fictional houses in their novels, but even just getting a feel for the atmosphere of the place and walking in with the weather, you understand their descriptions much better, like how hard it must have been to keep the damp out of everything … Having said that, I expected a bigger, posher house and the rooms are quite small. I also thought it would be quite isolated like Wuthering Heights, but it’s in the middle of everything in the village.’