Keighley Women

In Keighley Local Studies Library on Saturday 3rd March, retired librarian and celebrated local historian Ian Dewhirst MBE gave a very well received talk about notable Keighley women. The talk was well attended by the many people who had braved the icy conditions to be there.

Ian Dewhirst 2 Keighley Library

Thursday 8th March was International Women’s Day and Ian illustrated how Keighley has certainly has had its share of feisty ladies over the years.

The varied selection of ladies included Mrs Emma Groves, temperance advocate and Miss Sandra Dorne, film star. In his talk he spoke also of the late Mollie Sugden who played Mrs Slocombe in the 1970’s sit-com ‘Are You Being Served’. As mistress of the comedy double-entendre she had come a long way from her non-conformist roots at Ingrow.

Throughout history there are many forgotten personalities whose stories can be uncovered by delving into our Local Studies Library collections. The talk featured are some less well-known ladies with unusual stories such as Miss Annie Collett who kept an autograph album while visiting Keighley War Hospital in 1917-1918 and Miss Maud Marks of Keighley Salvation Army who was caught up in the fall of France in 1940.

This year is also the 100th anniversary of reforms to the voting system in 1918 where women over 30 years married to a householder or with a degree were given the vote for the first time.

Mr Dewhirst described the visit of suffragettes, Adela Pankhurst and Mary Kenney to Victoria Park on Sunday May 24th 1908 where the speeches were drowned out by the singing of popular songs. He spoke of the work of women in the First World War which had contributed greatly to their being given the vote.

The talk was accompanied by a display from Keighley Local Studies library collections which will remain in Keighley Local Studies library over the coming weeks.

Ian Dewhirst 1 Keighley Library

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1918-2018 Celebrating The Vote

 

 


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Saturday 10th March, “Bradford Suffragettes: The Fight for the Vote”, a talk by Helen Broadhead, Bradford Local Studies Library, 2.00pm

This talk will feature some of the remarkable stories of Bradford’s pioneers of the vote including textile trades unionist Julia Varley who was twice imprisoned in 1907.

The talk will be accompanied by an exhibition of items from the Local Studies Library collections.

Free event. Please book at local.studies@bradford.gov.uk or telephone 01274 433688


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Saturday 17th March, ‘Women of Bradford’, a guided walk by Helen Broadhead, starts at Manningham Library, 2.00pm

Join Helen Broadhead at Manningham Library on Saturday 17th March at 2.00pm for a heritage walk. Helen will explore women’s role in Bradford’s history as workers, vote seekers and activists. This circular walk will take around an hour and a half at a leisurely pace.

Free event, please book a place at local.studies@bradford.gov.uk or telephone 01274 433688

One Street in Parkwood

One street in Parkwood imageJoin Keighley and District Local History Society and Andy Wade from ‘Men of Worth’ project who will be telling the story of what happened to the men who went to War from one street in Parkwood.

Wednesday February 14th, Keighley Local Studies Library

Entry from 7.00pm at the side entrance. Talk starts at 7.30pm.

‘Using Vaccination Records’ – a talk by Sylvia Valentine with Keighley & District Family History Society

Keighley Local Studies Library, January 8th,  7.00pm for 7.30pm start.
(Please use side entrance.)

In August 1876, seven members of the Keighley Board of Guardians were arrested and imprisoned in the Debtors’ Prison at York. Their crime was not cooking the books but determinedly opposing what they saw as an attack on the civil liberties of the individual by the Government. The attack was the attempted enforcement in their town of the Vaccination Acts of 1867 and 1871 which made all Guardians responsible for enforcing the vaccination of the children within their Union.  The case of the Queen versus the Guardians of the Keighley Union came up at the High Court of Justice in London in November. The story is almost local legend and is the subject of regular study because of the national, as well as local debate and because of the popular support anti-vaccination attracted.

In Keighley there were near riotous scenes as well as the publication of broadsheets of verse and even carte-de-visite portraits.

The following records are taken from the Keighley Photographic Society, held at Keighley Library and the broadsheet is part of the library pamphlet collection.

Sylvia Valentine has made the most detailed and revealing study to date and has given talks across the country and is booked for talks in Canada in 2018.

Much of her original research was carried out using the resources of Keighley Local Studies Library and its fantastic archive.

Lord Asa Briggs of Lewes , born and schooled in Keighley: 07 May 1921 – 15 March 2016

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Image taken from the book ‘Oakbank History Trail’ © Maurice G. Smith

Keighley Boys’ Grammar School produced not one, but two, great historians in the early part of the twentieth century. Both were to have an impact on the study and philosophy of history and were to become amongst the most prominent historians of their day, their names were Asa Briggs and Herbert Butterfield (1900-1979). This blog concentrates on Lord Asa Briggs who sadly died last year and in whose honour the Historical Association have kindly donated a collection of books to Keighley Library, where the young Asa Briggs loved to study.

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Asa Briggs, historian and public servant, was born in Keighley 7th May 1921. He was the son of William Walter Briggs, a skilled engineer and a good pianist. His mother, Jane, was the daughter of a greengrocer, who, prior to the depression, had been part of a small farming family in Yorkshire.

Asa initially attended Eastwood council school, followed by the school, said to have had the most influence on his development and future studies, the Keighley Boys’ Grammar School, adjacent to the old Mechanics’ Institute in North Street and opposite this library.  He used this Carnegie public library, regularly. This is where he first learned to browse. Here too, amongst the newspapers in the reading room, and the large collection of books from the Philip Snowden collection that specialised in social economic and political interests,  Briggs says that he studied the politics that he would later introduce to his own version of social history, (Special Relationships, Frontline Books , 2012, p.9).

Keighley Library Reading Room

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Briggs enjoyed his school days at Keighley, especially his English and drama lessons with Kenneth Preston, of whom he speaks as the ablest of teachers. He seems to have made the most of his time there, becoming a school prefect and a member of a variety of societies including the Literary and Debating Society, the Stamp Society and the “Thirty- Three” Society. Despite a general love of history, Briggs in fact wanted to become a writer and, during this time at school, wrote poetry and various society reports for The Keighlian, the school magazine. However, another revered mentor at the school, the headmaster Neville Hind, did not favour the further study of English and encouraged students to pursue other subjects and to also try for his old Cambridge College, Sidney Sussex. Briggs was to adhere to this advice, so following in the footsteps of Herbert Butterfield from Oxenhope. By this time Herbert Butterfield was also lecturing at Cambridge. In 1944, Butterfield was elected Professor of Modern History, later Regius Professor and Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University from 1959-1961. He was knighted in 1968. On arrival at Cambridge, Brigg attended his lectures which influenced the young historian, (Special Relationships, Frontline Books, 2012 p.5).

In 1937, with war imminent, Briggs was accepted as a scholar by Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge at the very young age of 16. In Special Relationships, the tutor, James Passant, is quoted as saying, “You’re only a baby, Briggs – but since we are sure there is going to be a war, we would like you to complete your degree before you are called up for military service,”( p.68).

Briggs went on to achieve first class honours in History Tripos Parts 1 and 2. He also graduated from the London School of Economics before his call-up to the Army. He was posted to Bletchley Park as a cryptographer under Frank Adcock. He worked mainly on signals traffic from the Mediterranean using Alan Turing’s proto-computers (Bombes). These allowed them to read enemy signals. He also helped to dupe the Germans into thinking D-Day would not be carried out in Normandy. A full account of his life at Bletchley is given in the acclaimed book Secret Days Code-breaking in Bletchley Park (Frontline Books, 2011), available for loan in Bradford Libraries.

He left Bletchley for Oxford in 1944 where he became Fellow of Worcester College and his academic career began in earnest. His main areas of interest were the social and cultural history of the 19th and 20th centuries and the history of broadcasting in Britain. The following list is taken from the University of Sussex site: http://www.sussex.ac.uk

  • 1944-1955 Fellow of Worcester College, Oxford
  • 1950-1955 University Reader in Recent Social and Economic History, Oxford
  • 1953-1955 Faculty Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford
  • 1953-1954 Member of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, New Jersey, United States
  • 1954-1967 Deputy President, President of the Workers’ Education Association
  • 1955-1961 Professor of Modern History, co-Head of the History Dept., Leeds University
  • 1961-1967 Professor of History, Dean of the School of Social Studies, Pro-Vice- Chancellor, University of Sussex
  • 1967-1976 Vice-Chancellor, University of Sussex
  • 1976-1991 Provost of Worcester College, Oxford
  • 1978-1994 Chancellor of the Open University
  • 1988 A founder, first chair of the Commonwealth of Learning

Asa Briggs was also active in a very large number of societies:

  • President of  Haworth’s  own  Brontë Society and also of the following:
  • Social History Society
  • William Morris Society
  • Victorian Society
  • Ephemera Society
  • British Association for Local History
  • Association of Research Associations

He also served on a variety of committees:

  • member of the University Grants Committee
  • governor of the British Film Institute,
  • a trustee of the Glyndebourne Arts Trust, the International Broadcasting Institute, the Heritage Education Group  and the Civic Trust
  • chairman of the Standing Conference for the Study of Local History, the European Institute of Education, the governors and trustees of the Brighton Pavilion, and the Advisory Board for Redundant Churches.

Briggs also undertook several public appointments: most notably chairing a committee on the future of nursing, which in 1972 recommended improvements in nurses’ pay and conditions and an overhaul of nurses’ training that were later accepted by the Conservative government.

To quote Tam Dalyell in the Independent, Wednesday, 16th  March 2016,

“…his output in the written word, and in broadcasts and lectures, was awesome. It is doubtful whether Briggs ever spent a truly idle moment in his life.”

In fact, following his 90th birthday, he completed 3 books including Loose Ends and Extras in 2014.

Asa Briggs always kept in touch with Keighley and regarded himself as a “Lawkholme Laner”, (Keighley News 1930s Special, 16 February 1996). He was brought up in Emily Street, just off Lawkholme Lane.

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In 1962,  he became the first vice-president of the newly formed Friends of Cliffe Castle. He attended Old Keighlian reunions, and followed the developments of his old school. Keighley Boys’ Grammar School had been renamed Keighley School in 1964, when it became a County school, and it became known as Oakbank Grammar School in 1967. In 1982, Asa Briggs wrote the Foreward of the prize- winning, The Oakbank History Trail, published to commemorate the official opening of the new Oakbank school buildings. He had already attended the prize-giving ceremony in 1981 in London, as Chairman of the Heritage Education Group hosting the ceremony.

In 2015, Keighley Library was contacted regarding Lord Briggs’ time at Keighley Boys’ Grammar school and regarding the first poem that he ever had published, which was in the school magazine, the Keighlian’s December issue 1936, part of our own archive collection. The Complete Poems of Asa  Briggs, was subsequently published in 2016 and it was a real privilege for Keighley Library staff to play even a minor role in this last published work of one of Keighley’s greatest sons.

Lord Briggs died at Lewes 15th March 2016, leaving his wife, also an historian, whom he married in 1955, (then Susan Banwell), four children and 14 grandchildren, to whom this last book is dedicated.

Gina Birdsall, November 2017

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Books about Professor Asa Briggs donated to Keighley Local Studies Library

A presentation of books about the late Professor Briggs has been made to Keighley Local Studies Library by the Historical Association.

The books were presented by Professor Tony Badger, President of the Historical Association, to Maggie Pedley, Head of Libraries, Museums and Galleries on Wednesday 29 November.

Also present at the event were Dr Trevor James, Editor of ‘The Historian’ journal and historian, Philip Johnston.

Asa Briggs was one of Keighley’s foremost citizens. He became a well-known and remarkable historian who inspired others through his research, teaching and writing.

At Keighley Library, the young Asa developed his skills to become such an influential social historian.

In his book ‘Special Relationships’ he traces his love of history back to his days in Keighley. He said of Keighley Library ‘It was there that I first studied the politics that I was to introduce into my own version of social history.’

​It is fitting that these books will be added to the archives and made available for the benefit of future researchers and historians.

There is a display of books and local information about Asa Briggs in the Local Studies library on the first floor that will remain up over the next 3 weeks.

 

Spanish Civil War children sought refuge in Keighley and Bradford in 1937.

There is still chance to see the display by  basquechildren.org which will be in Keighley Local Studies until 14th November.

In Keighley Local Studies Library Simon Martinez and John Birkbeck recently told the story of the Basque children who came to Keighley to escape the Spanish Civil War in a well-attended talk.

In September 1937, nearly 100 children arrived at the Morton Banks Colony which was the largest in Yorkshire. Previously Morton Banks had been a sanatorium and between 1916 to 1918 it had been a war hospital.

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Morton Banks gates today (Image: ©Simon Martinez)

The home at Morton Banks closed when it was requisitioned for the Second World War in 1939. By then, many children had gone to France or back to Spain. Others stayed in Britain in colonies that remained until after the war, or were adopted by British people.

The talk sparked many interesting discussions and stories from descendants of the Basque refugees as well as of the people from the local community who rallied to the cause and provided sanctuary for the children.

The Basque Children of 37 Association would like to hear from anyone who might have further information. See more details at:

https://www.basquechildren.org/

 

Basque Child Refugees from Northern Spain welcomed in Keighley and Bradford, 1937-1939

To mark the 80th Anniversary of the arrival of child refugees a talk and an exhibition will be held in Keighley Local Studies library on Saturday 28th October at 2.00pm by Simon Martinez and John Birkbeck..

On the 13 September 1937, the Morton Banks Sanatorium in East Riddlesden and the Dr Barnardo children’s home on Manningham Lane, Bradford were turned over to voluntary groups to house children from Northern Spain.

These children had been evacuated at the height of the Spanish Civil War to avoid bombing and hunger following the bombing of Guernica forever immortalised by the painting by Pablo Picasso.

Keighley welcomed 100 of these child refugees and the adults who accompanied them.

They were very happy in Keighley. One later recalled ‘it was a town of twenty to twenty five thousand people, not pretty, not ugly, without a coastline but with swimming pools, a big park, and three cinemas (later there was one more, The Ritz) The Picture House, The Regent, and The Cosey Corner, and a lake which in winter froze over.’

This is a rare opportunity to hear two experts on this often forgotten piece of history speak together. John Martinez is the son of one of the refugee children Ruperta Martinez, (see picture) and he is a leading figure in the Basque Children organisation.

http://www.basquechildren.org

Ruperta Martinez

John Birkbeck’s grandfather was a significant figure in the lives of the Basque children who came to Keighley in 1937 and he has gathered a wealth of knowledge about the experiences of local refugees.

The event is free and all are welcome.

 

Neglected Bradford industries: Coal mining

Bradford is famous for spinning and weaving but textile production was only one of a group of important industries which ‘Worstedopolis’ supported.  Since several are now almost forgotten by contemporary citizens I should like to draw attention to those which seem unreasonably neglected, in a series of short articles.

Bradford lies on the northern edge of the great Yorkshire & Nottinghamshire coal field. The solid rocks under the city, called the ‘Coal Measures’, were laid down on top of the Millstone Grit in the Carboniferous geological period around 320 million years ago. In the Carboniferous ‘Bradford’ was near the equator and must have witnessed episodes of luxuriant tropical fern and horsetail growth, together with muddy coastal lagoons, vast debris deposits from a river delta, and occasional incursions of the sea. A little like the Florida Everglades today perhaps. The rocks created in this way resemble a pile of sponge cakes cut in half and consisting of layers of grey mudstone, sandstones, coal and fireclay. All these minerals once had a commercial value. The remains of many living creatures survive in mudstones or sandstones.  Cliffe Castle Museum, Keighley has an important collection of such fossils.

If you examine any portion of the first Ordnance Survey map of Bradford, surveyed in the late 1840s, you will see collieries, coal pits and ‘old pits’ scattered everywhere. Coal production was clearly a huge industry and in the 1860s Bradford produced as much of the mineral as Barnsley. In addition to a domestic supply coal was needed for coke manufacture, town gas production, and to power many hundreds of the Borough’s steam engines. It would have fuelled industries such as brick-making and lime-burning which will be examined in future articles. Coal was brought into the town centre and sold from staithes, this being a place adjacent to a highway from which merchants could collect a supply for subsequent delivery to their customers.

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This 200 year old map of east Bradford shows the position of two coal staithes. The date is probably around 1825 since Leeds Road is labelled as ‘New Road’.

In this map one staithe is clearly marked J.S. & Co. This must represent John Sturges (or Sturgess) & Co., which was the company that operated Bowling Iron Works. The ‘new rail road’ drawn is in fact a mineral carrying tramway bringing coal in trucks to the Eastbrook staithe, by rope haulage. There is second coal staithe (or stay) at the junction of Well Street and Hall Ings. This is evidently operated by J.J. & Co. who I cannot yet identify. There were staithes adjacent to the canal basin and the bulk transport of coal was very much in the minds of the first canal promoters.

In north Bradford the coal mined was largely from the Hard Bed, Soft Bed and 36-Yard seams which are the deepest in the Coal Measures. As you move up the Aire Valley from Bingley towards Keighley there were a further set of collieries based on even deeper seams of coal in the underlying Millstone Grit series of rocks. Coal mining in north Bradford may have been very extensive, but the coal seams were thin and relatively unproductive.  At the better capitalised late 18th and 19th century south Bradford pits mineral tramways took at least 50% of the coal mined to supply fuel for the profitable blast furnaces at Bowling and Low Moor. Here thicker seams, higher in the Coal Measures series, were exploited. Ironstone and coal were removed from the Black Bed and, underneath this, the Better Bed provided coal low in sulphur and phosphorus, ideal for coke fuelled iron smelting. Most old mine workings are now concealed by urban development but even today walks in Heaton or Northcliffe Woods, or on Baildon Moor, will reveal unmistakable evidence of a mining landscape.

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One of the many capped colliery shafts on Baildon Moor.

It is likely that the Romans exploited coal in Britain and there were certainly medieval collieries in northern England. I know of good historical evidence for mining in Baildon, Heaton, Shipley, Frizinghall, and Eccleshill in the early 17th century but the Bradford industry is almost certain to have been older, and more widespread. As an example of the evidence there are a series of West Yorkshire Deeds, published in 1931 by the Bradford Historical & Antiquarian Society,  and available in the Local Studies Library. One deed reveals that in 1684 Ellen Robinson conveyed her ‘Coles, mynes, seames and quarries of cole’ near a place called Mooreside. Would this be the Moorside, Eccleshill where the Industrial Museum is now situated? Remarkably the rent required of William Rawson, yeoman of Bowling, is ‘one red rose yearly’. Was a ‘rose rent’ effectively a way of giving the beneficiary, a relative perhaps, all the income from a parcel of land while not transferring its title of ownership? The colour of the rose is rather surprising if the parties involved were both from Yorkshire.

The earliest mining described by Bradford historian William Cudworth was a little later in 1699 when about twenty freeholders of Bolton entered into a mutual agreement for ‘getting’ coal in that township. The rights to the coal were generally vested in the landowner but a Lord of the Manor retained rights to coal under common land or ‘wastes’. The most frequent way of reaching coal seams was by means of shafts sunk from the surface. Once a shaft was in place the miners created galleries from which the coal was actually removed, with pillars of mineral being left to support the gallery roof. This technique is often called ‘pillar and stall’ mining with the stall (or bord) being the place in which the miners worked at a coal face. Because of these unmined pillars the ‘take’ of coal from a seam may have been as little as 60%. Traditionally coal was not mined under churches, nor the mine-owner’s house!

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A beautiful colliery plan from the  reserve map collection showing  pillar & stall mining below Old Allen Common, Wilsden.

As well a shaft to access the galleries a second ventilation shaft was often sunk. When a colliery was working active men were needed as ‘getters’ to hew the coal. If the seams were thin this must have been undertaken in a lying or kneeling position illuminated only by flickering candlelight. Hewed coal was then conveyed in wicker baskets, called corves, by ‘hurriers’ to the shaft bottom from which it could be wound up to the surface by ‘gins’ of various types. Where the topography was favourable seams could also be approached by driving in roughly horizontal tunnels, called inclines, drifts, or ‘day-holes’. Local mining by both methods is well recorded. For Wilsden, for example, there are maps held by both West Yorkshire Archives (Bradford) and the LSL. The Archives have a plan (WYB346 1222 B16) of Old Allen Common in Wilsden including all its collieries. This was ‘made for the purpose of ascertaining the best method of leasing the coal’ by Joseph Fox, surveyor, in 1829. It shows the area where Edward Ferrand, as Lord of the Manor, had mineral rights over common land.

The name ‘bell pit’ is commonly encountered in accounts of early mining. In this method a short shaft was sunk down to a seam and its base was then expanded as the mineral was removed, creating a bell-like profile. When unsafe, because of potential roof collapse, the bell was abandoned and a new shaft sunk nearby. Each bell was filled in turn by waste dug out of its successor. I feel that if shafts were connected underground, or were drained by a passage to the exterior (called an adit or sough), or had some means of providing fresh air for its miners, it seems misleading to call such arrangements ‘bell pits’. ‘Shallow shaft mining’ is perhaps to be preferred which covers all these possibilities.

If you want to explore local coal mining further I would suggest:

J.V. Stephens et al., Geology of the country between Bradford and Skipton, HMSO, 1953. This is essential reading for geological background to any extractive industry.

Richardson, A Geography of Bradford, University of Bradford (1976). This work provides a gentle introduction to mining as it also does to Bradford’s development.

M.C. Gill, Keighley Coal, NMRS, 2004. A most detailed study by an eminent mining authority.

D.J. Barker & T. Woods, Cash from the Coal Measures: the Extractive Industries of Nineteenth Century Shipley.  Bradford Antiquary, (2013) 3rd series, 17, 17-36.

 

Derek Barker, Local Studies Library Volunteer

 

 

 

 

Keighley Local Studies Library: Branwell Brontë

BBKeighley Local Studies Library holds a nationally important collection of books and articles on the Brontë family, Society and Museum.

This year marks 200 years since the birth of Patrick Branwell Brontë, the brother of the Brontë sisters. To summarise the life of any of the Brontë children is to put in stark relief the struggles faced by these talented young adults with little money and few connections, trying to make a living from the few employment opportunities available in any early nineteenth century Yorkshire town. The subsequent toll on their brilliance and creativity, necessarily frustrated by having to pursue work beyond their scope of interest, their subsequent lack of time, inhospitable surroundings and health concerns, led to thwarted ambition in all cases but, in that of Branwell, to the ultimate early destruction of body, mind and spirit.

The following is a short summary of Branwell’s tragic life, highlighting some of the publications and resources available for further study in Keighley Library’s newly extended Brontë collection.

Patrick Branwell Brontë was born in Thornton on the 26th June 1817, fourth child and only son of Patrick and Maria. Largely educated in the classics by his father, he was soon making his own contributions to the Glasstown/Angrian saga and became an early avid reader of Blackwood’s magazine of satire, political commentary, prose stories, book reviews, pictures and poetry. In fact, Branwell pursued literary publication throughout his life, experimenting with all forms of the written word but was especially successful with poetry which was published in newspapers of the time.

Branwell also received art and music lessons locally. He showed early promise as a painter and received lessons from John Bradley, a founder of Keighley’s Mechanics’ Institute and William Robinson, a professional Leeds portrait painter. In 1836, in pursuit of a career as a painter, he went to study at the Royal Academy schools with letters of introduction from Robinson. He returned after a few days, penniless, however, apparently having got no further than The Castle Tavern at Holborn.

Branwell took early music lessons from Keighley’s parish organist, Abraham Sunderland, and eventually played the church organ, though he seemed to prefer the after service entertainments in the Black Bull to more serious spiritual contemplation. However, one should always remember that he was hardly out of his teens at this time (1836-1838). Branwell frequently sought out the company of John Brown, Church sexton, in the neighbouring Black Bull pub and here his conversation was known to be entertaining and witty. He also became a Freemason and secretary in the local lodge.

Between 1838-1839, Branwell became a portrait painter in Bradford, but apparently only got sufficient commissions to cover his basic costs. For the professional challenges he faced in terms of established competition, please see Juliet Barker’s The Brontës, (Abacus, 2010), p.354. He returned home but in 1840 became teacher to the sons of Mr Postlethwaite of Broughton-in-Furness. He continued to write poetry. He was dismissed in June 1840 and recent researchers have speculated that it was perhaps for fathering a child out of wedlock.

Following this dismissal, Branwell became Clerk on the Leeds and Manchester Railway, first at Sowerby Bridge, then Luddenden Foot but following the theft of money by an employee in Branwell’s charge, he was dismissed in March 1842. Nevertheless, this period had been a creative one with the publication of poetry in the Halifax Guardian and he had made a lifelong friend in Francis Grundy, to whom we owe one of the few thoughtful descriptions of Branwell’s character by a personal friend of his own.

Between December 1842 -1845, Branwell was tutor to the Robinson family of Thorp Green, York but, in June 1845, he was dismissed, this time thought to be as a result of an affair with Mrs Robinson.

After this dismissal, Branwell attempted to find another job, wrote more poetry and attempted to write a novel, based on his earlier Angrian writings. Mrs Robinson’s husband died in 1848 but Branwell was unable to forge any kind of a reconciliation with her and his health declined at home rapidly. Branwell died on 24th September 1848, just 31 years old. His death certificate stated death due to, ‘Marasmus’ which is ‘physically wasting away’, The Brontës by Juliet Barker, 92, p1093.

Select Bibliography of books and articles relating to Branwell Brontë at Keighley Local Studies Library

Biographies

  • Branwell Brontë by Winifred Gérin (Hutchinson & Co (Publishers) Ltd, 1961)
  • The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë by Daphne Du Maurier (Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1960)
  • The Brontë Family with special reference to Patrick Branwell Brontë by Francis A. Leyland (Hurst & Blackett 1886)
  • Pictures of the past: Memories of men I have met and places I have seen by Francis H. Grundy (Griffith and Farran, 1879)

Articles

Many articles have appeared in the Brontë Society Transactions from 1895, including subjects such as Branwell and his connections to the Freemasons, and his possible contribution to Wuthering Heights as well as discussions on his letters and works and life generally. For a full list of articles, please ask to see the index. Keighley Library has a near complete run to date of the Transactions, available for reference.

Brontë Scrapbooks of news cuttings are updated regularly in Keighley Local Studies Library.  They are indexed and include articles and news reports from local newspapers and magazines covering all the latest research, Parsonage Museum acquisitions, film, theatre, radio and television productions.

Works of Branwell Brontë

General

  • Brother in the Shadow, Stories & Sketches by Patrick A Branwell Brontë, Research and Transcriptions by Mary Butterfield, Selection and Editing by R.J. Duckett (Bradford Libraries, 1988)

In 2017, Keighley Library should acquire new publications of Branwell’s letters and works.

Art works

Books in Keighley Library that show Branwell’s art works most clearly and comprehensively:

  • The Art of the Brontës by Christine Alexander and Jane Sellar (Cambridge University Press, 1995) shows the most comprehensive collection of works, for reference only.
  • The Brontës and their World by Phyllis Bentley (Book Club Associates by arrangement with Thames & Hudson Ltd, 1972)
  • The Brontës by Juliet Barker, photograph of the lost oil painting of sisters with Branwell, ‘gun’ portrait, plate 16.

Portraits of friends and places frequented

William Robinson of Leeds from a self-portrait, Branwell Brontë (Winifred Gerin), plate 7
John Brown, Haworth sexton and Hartley Colderidge, Joseph Bentley Leyland of Halifax, sculptor, one of Branwell’s closest friends; The Black Bull, Haworth photo in the Brontës’ day; Lord Nelson Inn and Luddenden Inn, all in The Brontës and Their World (Phyllis Bentley).

National & Local Archive Collections

Search http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk for Branwell Brontë for a comprehensive listing.

Haworth Parsonage’s Museum and Library holds amongst other items the Bonnell Collection. Henry Houston Bonnell was a life member of the Brontë Society and collected Brontë material from the 1890s. It includes manuscripts, letters and drawings by Branwell Brontë and annotated books owned by the family. Leeds University also has a collection of note: http://www.library.leeds.ac.uk

Please ask staff for the catalogue and new information booklet.

Download the factsheet here.