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Posts Tagged ‘Giggleswick School’

Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth

When Virginia Woolf visited the Brontë home and Brontë Museum in Haworth on Nov. 24, 1904, she wrote about it.

That piece was her first accepted for publication and just the second to appear in print. The Guardian published it unsigned on Dec. 21, 1904. 

In it, Woolf wrote of Charlotte:

Her shoes and her thin muslin dress have outlived her.

Woolf describes those items as “touching” and mentions those objects, along with Emily’s “little oak stool,” as those that gave her “a thrill.”

In the Yorkshire Post, Ann Dinsdale, principal curator at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, describes Woolf as being “brought up short by the sight of Charlotte’s dress – because it made her realise that apart from being a great literary mind, she was a real woman.”

Defying Expectations exhibit

Dinsdale’s remark is part of a discussion of “Defying Expectations,” the museum’s current exhibit featuring Charlotte Brontë’s wardrobe. One goal of the exhibit is to show that Charlotte was interested in fashion, color, style and trends, as it highlights some of the more colorful and exotic accessories in Charlotte’s wardrobe.

Woolf herself justified her visit to the Brontë parsonage this way:

The curiosity is only legitimate when the house of a great writer or the country in which it is set adds something to our understanding of his books. This justification you have for a pilgrimage to the home and country of Charlotte Brontë and her sisters.

Guestbook and Giggleswick

When I toured the Brontë parsonage in 2016, I was thrilled to view — and hold in my hands — the guestbook that Woolf signed using her maiden name of Virginia Stephen, when she visited in 1904.

She was the first of only two visitors that day. The other was her companion Margaret Vaughan, wife of her cousin Will, headmaster of Giggleswick School.

Woolf stayed with the couple in the headmaster’s home when she made her 1904 trip to the Brontë Parsonage.

Page in the Brontë Parsonage and Museum guestbook signed by Virginia Woolf in 1904.

Behind-the-scenes room at the Brontë Parsonage Museum where the guestbook signed by Virginia Woolf is stored, along with other materials by and about the Brontës.

Headmaster’s home at Giggleswick School

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Bronte Parsonage group photo

Outside the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth with conference organizers Jane de Gay and Tom Breckin; Rebecca Yorke of The Brontë Society; International Virginia Woolf Society President Kristin Czarnecki; and Paula Maggio of Blogging Woolf.

Updated July 25

If you weren’t able to make it to the 26th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf at Leeds Trinity University in Leeds, England, you can read more about it, view photographs, and watch a video. Here are links:

You can also search #Woolf2016 on Twitter and Facebook. And to follow Virginia’s travels around Greece, England and other such places, follow #travelswithvirginiawoolf.

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Yesterday, once the 26th Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf ended, about a dozen of us opted to take the 90-minute bus trip to Giggleswick, the village that houses Giggleswick School. The outing was put together as the final official event of this year’s Woolf conference.

At the Gigleswick School

It was at Giggleswick School where Woolf’s cousin Will Vaughan served as headmaster. And she stayed with him and his wife Madge in the headmaster’s home during the period of time in which she made her trip to the Brontë Parsonage in November 1904.

The weather was quite English; it rained from the moment we got off the bus until we boarded it again. Our gracious hosts at Giggleswick School treated us to a beautifully laid tea and a look inside the headmaster’s house.

Going to the chapel

We then split up, with a few of us heading to Giggleswick Chapel. It took four years to build and was finished in 1901, so was quite new when Woolf visited. There, we were given an informative tour by Barbara Gent, the school’s librarian and archivist, and a concert of organ and piano music by the school’s music director, James Taylor, and the chapel’s organist, Philip Broadhouse.

Afterward, Anne Reus, who assisted with organizing the conference and is a Ph.D. student at Leeds Trinity University, shepherded us to The Black Horse Pub, where we ordered a hot meal while sheltering from the cold rain. With immense dedication, she ran back and forth through that rain — without an umbrella — making sure the bus knew where to find us.

The hardy hikers

Despite the weather, every one of us was happy to be at Giggleswick — even the nine adventurers of our party who chose to go on the strenuous 6.5-mile hike up the hillside to the caves that Woolf visited when she strode out for a country walk. At the end of the day they climbed on board our bus, drenched but smiling.

After the rigorous hike, which included climbs over stiles built of rocks and treks alongside cows and sheep, Beth Rigel Daugherty said:

If I ever again hear anyone say that Woolf was fragile, I will tell them that is a lie!”

Here are some photos from the day. You can tell by these that I did not go on the walk led by indomitable conference organizer Jane deGay, but I so admire those who did. By the time we headed for Leeds, they were wet, chilled, hungry — and exhilarated.

The gracious Barbara Gent, archivist and librarian at Giggleswick School, read us Woolf's diary entries made during her stay.

The gracious Barbara Gent, archivist and librarian at Giggleswick School, read us Woolf’s diary entries made during her stay.

Our lovely tea included real china and scones with jam and clotted cream.

Our lovely tea included real china and scones with jam and clotted cream.

Giggleswick plaque

Headmaster's house at Giggleswick School

Headmaster’s house at Giggleswick School

The headmaster of Giggleswick School accepts a conference T-shirt as a gift of thanks for allowing us into his home.

Mark Turnbull, headmaster of Giggleswick School, accepts a conference T-shirt as a gift of thanks for allowing us into his home as his wife looks on.

It's easy to imagine Woolf warming herself at this fieplace in the sitting room.

It’s easy to imagine Woolf warming herself at this fieplace in the sitting room.

View from the drawing room window at the headmaster’s house

 

The room at the upper far right is the one that Woolf used during her 1904 stay.

The room at the upper far right is the one that Woolf used during her 1904 stay.

The lovely front garden includes poppies, a fitting flower since the school and the chapel include tributes to the more than 200 Giggleswick School alumni who were lost in the Great War. Eight hundred served.

The lovely front garden includes poppies, a fitting flower since the school and the chapel include tributes to the more than 200 Giggleswick School alumni who were lost in the Great War. Eight hundred served.

Giggleswick Chapel

Giggleswick Chapel, funded by the generosity of Walter Morrison and constructed using stone from local quarries. The architect was Thomas Jackson of Oxford.

Dome of the chapel

The dome of the chapel features an eye decorated in mosaic with gold ink detail.

Interior showing portion of the Italian marble floor

Interior showing portion of the floor of Belgian marble and pews made of cedar from Argentina

View of the rear of the chapel, with statues of King Edward VI, patron of the school, and Queen Victoria.

View of the rear of the chapel, with statues of King Edward VI, patron of the school, and Queen Victoria.

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