The Worth Valley Railway and a Haworth Homecoming for Three Sisters

At the weekend I was lucky enough to enjoy a trip on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, a volunteer run heritage railway line which serves a 5 mile stretch of Yorkshire. The stations it serves are Oxenhope, Haworth, Oakworth, Damems (request stop only), Ingrow West, and Keighley. Along with my companions I travelled from Haworth to Ingrow West before making the journey back to Oakworth, and then finally, returning to Haworth in order to visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum which is currently celebrating the bicentenary of Emily (1818-1848), author of Wuthering Heights, and the temporary return of the only authenticated portrait of the three Brontë sisters, The Pillar Portrait, painted by their only brother, Branwell Brontë in 1834.

Here a few snaps from the day to look through. I hope you enjoy them, and that it encourages you to take a trip to Haworth in the near future. The Pillar Portrait will remain on display until 31st August 2018 when it will be returned to the National Portrait Gallery in London. Catch it while you can!

Haworth

Ingrow West

Ingrow West is a charming little station that is home to the Ingrow Loco Museum and Workshop, and the slightly smaller Rail Story Education Centre. There’s an awful lot to take in in what looks like just a shed from the outside, especially in the case of the Loco Museum which features thousands of pieces of train memorabilia in addition to historic carriages that you can climb aboard.

35195638_1894967130533826_4599297202441945088_n
The beautiful exterior of Ingrow West Station

Below are just a few examples of the wonderful memorabilia housed inside the Ingrow Loco Museum.

35077833_1894964153867457_7275831468809519104_n

The museum also features carriages that you can sit in, some of which have been used in TV and film productions over the years including Housewife 49, North and South, and Peaky Blinders.

35271080_1894960193867853_6126708038142263296_n.jpg

Above is one of several carriages which were used in in the 2004 TV adaptation of North and South by Charlotte Brontë’s friend and first biographer, Elizabeth Gaskell.

Above different types of carriages can be seen.

Oakworth

Oakworth is famous for featuring in the 1970 film The Railway Children (alongside Haworth), and the station retains its Edwardian charm and is preserved to show how it would have been from 1905-1914.

34984317_1892418840788655_6242976926013587456_n
Platform at Oakworth
35026398_1892488214115051_8952629251408920576_n
The charming Edwardian Ladies’ Waiting Room

Haworth – Brontë Parsonage Musuem

The main attraction this year is the Emily 200 exhibition, however, it has temporarily been eclipsed by the arrival of The Pillar Portrait. I heard more than one person express that their reason for visiting was to see this magnificent picture. It was also the reason for my own visit. Welcome home girls.

Despite it being Emily’s bicentenary, I have to express my disappointment with the Making Thunder Roar exhibition. Charlotte’s was also slightly disappointing as I expected more of her own original material to be on display, however, there were some fantastic modern pieces on show around the museum to make up for it. I would have liked more focus on her early fiction though. If ever there was an opportunity to bring the Brontë juvenilia out of the shadows, that was it. Unfortunately it was missed though. Branwell’s celebrations last year were excellent. Perhaps this was because there was a real focus on his literary work rather than his troubled personal life. There were also some excellent original poems created by Simon Armitage to mark the occasion.

34873445_1892532827443923_6770883811770105856_n.jpg

Emily’s was by far the most disappointing though. It doesn’t help that there is no surviving correspondence of hers to display, but the display of the famous diary papers was a welcoming touch to an otherwise boring exhibition. I’m not entirely sure what was going on. It seemed to be a room full of quotes about Emily from a selection of extremely random people, including the Brontë Society’s Creative Partner for 2018, Lily Cole.

34984464_1892533970777142_3694685306453229568_n.jpg

I’m all for giving people a chance, but all Lily Cole seems to have done is prove those who were bemused by her appointment right. I’m not exactly sure what her role is or what she’s done for the Brontë Society and the legacy of Emily Brontë. I don’t even know what, if anything she had to do with this exhibition. She may be giving talks, lectures, writing papers etc., but if she is, then I’d like to see some evidence of this because if you’re going to be labelled a creative partner then you’d better live up to that title. I know of other people who are doing far more to promote Emily’s legacy, including a writer who was attacked publicly for misogyny and resigned from the Brontë Society after Cole’s appointment. Rant over. Please prove us wrong Lily, for Emily’s sake.

Art by Charlotte. Above left is her copy of “English Lady” from 1834, above right is her copy of “The atheist viewing the body of his dead wife” from c.1835-6.

34875567_1892523204111552_4994805931683348480_n

Above is Charlotte’s “Lycidas” from 1835. Front left is one of the Brontë tiny books, part of the Young Men’s Magazine series, and front right is the fragment now known as “Farewell to Angria” from 1839, the last extant text of Charlotte’s to explicitly feature the Brontës’ fictional world of Angria.

I’m so glad they decided to keep the recreation of Branwell’s messy study, which was created last year for Branwell’s celebrations. It’s such a shame there was nothing like this for Emily.

34928710_1892519290778610_7749396650220584960_n
Recreation of Branwell’s desk
34882935_1892519097445296_3585005315025797120_n
Recreation of Branwell’s map of Glass Town

 

 

Two images of Maria Branwell Brontë. On the left she is depicted as a 15 year old by J. Tonkin in 1799, before she left Cornwall or met Patrick Brontë. On the right is a painting by her daughter Charlotte painted c.1830.

34963457_1892522194111653_8935906521364037632_n
Maria’s signature
35053902_1892521610778378_185008121456885760_n
Methodist Magazine belonging to Maria Branwell

And finally, here is one of Emily’s famous diary papers on display as part of Making Thunder Roar.

35158921_1892549227442283_4050247665861001216_n

 

By Nicola Friar a.k.a. The Brontë Babe.

Please do not copy or share the images from this post.

Thanks for reading. Find me on twitter @NicolaFriar where I tweet about books, the Brontës and lost dogs. A lot.

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “The Worth Valley Railway and a Haworth Homecoming for Three Sisters

  1. Great post. I am trying to encourage my other half into doing some walks with me in Bronte country. I got a little pocket walks book from the railway station in Haworth back in March. So I need to get exploring! Maybe we can walk some and hop on and off the train too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s