Anne Lister’s April at Calderdale Museums

Anne Lister portrait

The Anne Lister Birthday Festival is taking place in Calderdale from 1-8 April and Calderdale Museums are ready to welcome visitors from around the world.

Anne Lister’s birthday has been celebrated at her former home of Shibden Hall for many years. In 2014, the hall hosted the first Anne Lister Conference; ten years on, the event has grown to an eight-day long festival at venues throughout the region. 

Alongside around 70 events taking place across the festival, Calderdale Museums are hosting special Anne Lister events and themed exhibitions.

Bankfield Museum is hosting the ‘In Her Words’ exhibition, a collection of Anne’s diaries and archives. The exhibition includes 27 loans from West Yorkshire Archives, who look after the collection, as well as items from the Museum’s Anne Lister collections, including portraits and her travel case. It also includes items generously loaned from private owners. Anne’s two music books will also be on display after being recently conserved by West Yorkshire Archives, funded by museum visitor donations.

The music books have been studied by pianist Lisa Timbs, who will be discussing her research and playing music from the books at 1.30pm on Thursday 4 April at Bankfield Museum. Advance booking is required and tickets are available to book online through the Festival’s Ticketsource page: Anne Lister’s Music and Talk, Bankfield Museum(external link)

In addition, a selection of costumes from Gentleman Jack and a new interview with the series’ costume designer Tom Pye can also be seen at Bankfield Museum in the top floor exhibition ‘Inspired: The Art of Making Historical Fashion.’

There will be an Anne Lister-themed Maker’s Market at Bankfield Museum on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 April.

Shibden Hall will be open throughout the festival for people to walk in Anne’s footsteps and visit the place she called home. There are limited tickets left for the rare opportunity to see the Library Tower and the festival programme also includes many walks on or near the Shibden estate. Booking details for all the activities are available at link)

Outside of the festival, there are also some upcoming women’s stone carving and dry-stone walling workshops on the 20and 21 April, taking place on land adjacent to Shibden. The events are hosted by the Women’s International Stone Alliance (WISA), who created the Anne Lister Stone monument at Shibden in 2022. Tickets for the workshops are listed by WISA on Eventbrite. Stone Workshops for Women – Carving Stone – Dry Stone Walling Tickets(external link)

Calderdale Council’s Assistant Director for Customer Services, Sarah Richardson, said:

“We’re so looking forward to welcoming the many visitors heading to Calderdale for the Anne Lister Birthday Festival. It’s been wonderful to see the growth in the birthday celebrations over the years and share Anne’s history and promote her legacy with people from around the world.

“The packed festival programme includes lots of events and exhibitions at our museums, and of course this includes events in and around Anne’s former home of Shibden Hall.

“Bankfield Museum is also hosting some fascinating exhibitions with artefacts from our collections and the West Yorkshire Archives, including Anne’s famous diaries. Our fashion gallery at Bankfield will be displaying costumes from Gentleman Jack, with an exclusive interview with the show’s costume designer. The museum and exhibitions are free to attend and there’s still time to book on the ticketed events too.

“The festival will also build up to the official launch of our Year of Culture, which launches at The Piece Hall on Saturday 13 April and there will be events at locations across the borough, including our museums, throughout the year, celebrating our culture, heritage, and diversity. Keep an eye on link) for all the latest updates.”

Visit link), the home of all things Anne Lister, for more information and details of the festival.

For opening times and further information about Calderdale museums, visit

The Year of Culture (CultureDale(external link)) is a 12-month celebration of Calderdale turning 50 on 1 April 2024 – a landmark moment in the borough’s story – and marks the ultimate year for the Vision 2024 for Calderdale.

CultureDale supports the Vision 2024 for Calderdale themes of distinctiveness, kindness, talent, enterprise and resilience. Get involved on X with #VisionCdale2024 and find out more at

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