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Celebrations start for 200th anniversary of Charlotte Bronte's birth

Members of the Bronte Society celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charlotte Bronte on the Terrace of the House of Commons.

The gathering marked the start of a five-year programme to highlight the bicentenaries of the births of each of the Bronte siblings.

Charlotte’s is the first birth to be celebrated this Thursday, with Branwell to follow in 2017, Emily in 2018 and Anne in 2020.

Celebrations to mark Charlotte’s birthday will take place around the world on April 21st. The primary focus will be on Haworth itself which will host a full day of community-led activities.

We at the Bronte Society have been planning these events for a number of years now. We are very excited to see the Bronte 200 launch on Thursday 21st April with a day of activities in Haworth, followed by a commemorative service in Westminster the following day. It was wonderful to come to the Houses of Parliament and help start the celebrations.

– John Thirlwell, Chair of the Bronte Society Council

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Bronte letters saved for the nation

The Brontë Society is celebrating the acquisition of a rare collection of important Charlotte Brontë letters which will now return to her former home - the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth. The letters, which went under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London, were previously in a private collection.

They were expected to fetch between £100,000 to £150,000, but sold for £185,000. The Society was able to acquire the letters thanks to support of £198,450 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the UK’s fund of last resort for saving the nation’s most important heritage at risk.

These are amongst the most significant Brontë letters to come to light in decades. They belong in Haworth and we are delighted that both scholars and members of the public will now have the opportunity to study and enjoy them, either here at the Brontë Parsonage Museum, or through our on-line resources.

– Ann Dinsdale, Collections Manager, Bronte Parsonage Museum

This is marvellous news. Charlotte Brontë’s outstanding contribution to British literature puts her at the centre of the UK’s literary landscape. The National Heritage Memorial Fund was set up to save the UK’s most important heritage and therefore trustees felt it was vital to support the Brontë Parsonage in its endeavour to secure these rare letters for future generations to enjoy.

– Jenny Abramsky, Chair of National Heritage Memorial Fund

The collection consists of six letters written by Charlotte Brontë to Ellen Nussey, her closest friend. They met as pupils at school in Mirfield and wrote to each other regularly. It is thanks to Ellen that Charlotte’s letters, upon which so much of Brontë scholarship is based, have survived.