Join Hafta-Ichi to find out the article “TS Eliot estate steps in to help Brontë Parsonage Museum rescue appeal | Books”
The estate of TS Eliot has stepped in to shore up the Brontë Parsonage with a £20,000 donation, after the historic building where the Brontë children were raised warned that it was at risk of closure due to the coronavirus.
The Brontë Parsonage Museum in the village of Haworth, West Yorkshire, where the young Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell would act out plays and where the novels Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were written, said that its closure during lockdown had had a devastating financial impact, with a loss of expected income of more than £500,000.
Although the museum reopened on 28 August, its small size means visitors have had to be limited for safety reasons. The Brontë Society is forecasting a “significant reduction in visitor numbers and associated income” into 2021.
It has entered a period of consultation with staff, with possible redundancies, and is asking for support from the public.
“We have made use of all the state support available to us, including furloughing the majority of our staff and applying for grants and emergency funds, but we are still facing an end of year deficit of £100,000. We are painfully aware that everything we have done and still plan to do might not be enough to ensure our survival into 2021,” said the Society in its JustGiving appeal. “We know that times are hard for people, institutions and businesses everywhere, but if you, or someone you know, are able to help us at this difficult time, it might just make the difference between us staying open or closing our doors again.”
The TS Eliot estate has now made a £20,000 donation to the appeal, which has raised almost £50,000 since its launch in mid-July.
Rebecca Yorke, head of communications and marketing at the Society, said it was totally unexpected. “They quietly donated £20,000, wishing us all the best with our campaign,” she said.
There is a small connection between the Eliots and the Brontës: the “Bradford millionaire” in The Waste Land is believed to be Sir James Roberts, a Yorkshire philanthropist who bought Haworth Parsonage and gifted it to the Brontë Society in 1928. He was also a customer of the bank where the poet worked.
“He, the young man carbuncular, arrives, / A small house agent’s clerk, with one bold stare, / One of the low on whom assurance sits / As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire,” run the lines.
“For there still to be a connection between Eliot and the Brontës all these years later is very special,” Yorke said.
A grant from Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund meant the museum could reopen, with entry by pre-booked, timed ticket only, and visitors admitted at the rate of six people every 15 minutes. “This means that visitors have a very special experience, with lots of space and time to look around, but it does mean that our capacity is limited which has an impact on our income,” said Yorke.
Earlier this summer, Jane Austen’s House in Chawton, Hampshire launched an emergency fundraiser under similar circumstances. The JustGiving appeal made more than £95,000 for the museum, well above its original £75,000 target.
“It’s too soon to say our future will definitely be assured if we reach our target, but it will certainly put us in a much stronger position as we enter the traditionally quieter autumn and winter months,” said Yorke.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: TS Eliot estate steps in to help Brontë Parsonage Museum rescue appeal | Books