Bringing the Brontës to Calderdale

Calderdale Council has unveiled plans to celebrate this year’s bicentenary of the birth of world-renowned author, Charlotte Brontë.

Novelist and Brontë enthusiast Tracy Chevalier, who wrote Girl with a Pearl Earring, has created a new exhibition for Bankfield Museum in Halifax, in conjunction with the Quilters’ Guild and the Brontë Society.

Splendid Shreds of Silk & Satin: A Celebration of Charlotte Brontë in Quilts, which features a quilt made by the Brontë sisters, opens on Saturday 16 April ahead of Charlotte’s 200th birthday on Thursday 21 April.

Charlotte Brontë may be best known for her novels, including Jane Eyre and Villette, but who knew that she and her sisters spent so much time sewing? They were all skilled stitchers and sewing is often mentioned in their letters. 

Over 50 Yorkshire quilters have responded to Tracy Chevalier’s ‘Brontë Quilt Challenge’, calling for quilts reflecting the quote from Jane Eyre: “A certain little drawer, full of splendid shreds of silk and satin.” 

The new quilts will be displayed at Bankfield Museum alongside a quilt made by the Brontë sisters on loan from the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth. There will also be a modern reproduction of the quilt and a selection of historic quilts from Bankfield Museum’s collection.

The Brontë family has several links with Calderdale. Charlotte’s sister, Emily Brontë, who wrote Wuthering Heights, taught at Law Hill House, Southowram, and their brother Branwell worked at both Sowerby Bridge and Luddendenfoot railway stations.

Andrew Pitts, Calderdale Council’s Head of Neighbourhoods, said:

“On 21 April 2016 people all over the world will celebrate Charlotte Brontë’s 200th birthday. We’re delighted to be hosting this exciting new exhibition to mark the occasion in Calderdale. We look forward to welcoming local people and visitors from further afield to Bankfield Museum.”

Visitors can see the exhibition from Saturday 16 April to Saturday 11 June 2016 at Bankfield Museum, Boothtown Road, Halifax, HX3 6HG. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm.Admission is free.

For more information about Bankfield Museum and other Calderdale-Council run museums, head to


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