Celebrating the lives of Anne Lister and the Brontës

Exterior photo of Bankfield Museum

The remarkable lives of Anne Lister and the Brontë sisters will be in the spotlight at a unique one-day conference at Bankfield Museum in Halifax, hosted by Calderdale Council and the Brontë Parsonage Museum.

On Monday 14 October, Bankfield Museum will welcome scholars, museum professionals and special guests to talk about the extraordinary legacy of these talented 19th century women from West Yorkshire.

Calderdale Museums and the Brontë Parsonage Museum are coming together for this special event, which will examine a range of topics such as: legacy, non-conformism, hidden histories and censorship, interpretation and adaptation in film, television, literature and radio.

Sally Wainwright’s BBC and HBO drama, Gentleman Jack is the most recent interpretation of Anne Lister, and its international popularity has brought Anne’s story to new audiences.

Visitors from around the globe have been visiting her home, Shibden Hall in Halifax, in record numbers to find out more about her life as a scholar, traveller, businesswoman, property owner and lesbian, and how she defied the norms of the time.

In 2016, Wainwright’s Brontë biopic To Walk Invisible interpreted the Brontës as never before. By focusing on the three years in which the sisters wrote the books that made them famous, the drama highlighted the bleak domestic situation they faced, and therefore the extraordinary feat they achieved.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Susan Press, said:

“We’re excited to be working with the Brontë Parsonage Museum to bring this fascinating conference to Bankfield Museum, as part of our work to harness the impacts of Gentleman Jack and heritage on tourism and Calderdale’s visitor economy.


“Some of the most respected Brontë and Anne Lister experts in the country will explore the lives of these extraordinary women, who defied convention to leave an exceptional legacy of influence long after their lifetime.”

Places on this one-day conference are limited, so it’s recommended that those interested book early to avoid disappointment.

Tickets for the unique event cost £45 and include refreshments. For booking information and details of full timings and speakers, visit link)

Whilst visiting Bankfield Museum, check out the Gentleman Jack costumes on display, and the Fashion Gallery which showcases fabulous period fashion from the time of Anne Lister and the Brontës. For things to do across Calderdale, head to link)

In nearby Brighouse, don’t miss your chance to see the ‘God’s Own Country: Art and Artists Inspired by West Yorkshire’ exhibition at Smith Art Gallery, which runs until Saturday 12 October. It celebrates West Yorkshire’s artistic talents and inspiring landscapes, history, people and architecture.

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