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.