Key stage three students were recently offered the opportunity to visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth. A group of students from years seven, eight and nine made a trip to the place where Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte grew up and wrote their masterpieces Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.
The visit began with a drama workshop held in the cellar of the Bronte Parsonage. Students were given parts and acted out scenes from a script adapted from Charlotte Bronte’s classic Gothic tale Jane Eyre. Costumes were donned and Sue Newby of the Parsonage Museum gave advice to students on how to best deliver their lines.
Students were then given the chance to explore the Parsonage itself, looking into the different rooms to see objects that the Brontes themselves had used, such as writing desks, pens and settees, and the clothes they wore, such as Charlotte’s very narrow shoes. They were also able to participate in an art exhibition curated by Clare Twomey to mark the two hundredth anniversary of Emily’s birth next year. Visitors were asked to copy out a line of Wuthering Heights into a new manuscript, which will be bound and put on show at the Parsonage next year. Several students took the opportunity to do this, and their names were recorded in a visitor’s book which will be displayed alongside the manuscript.
After lunch, students were given the chance to develop their creative writing skills by writing a ghost story based on objects they had seen in the Parsonage. Sue took students outside into the churchyard to tell stories of Haworth in the nineteenth century and to discover some of the village’s former residents through noting down names from gravestones. Then they headed back to the Parsonage cellar to write up their stories using sounds they had heard in the churchyard and facts they had learned.
The trip was organised by Dr Price as part of the English department’s commitment to ensuring students are given extracurricular activities to support their learning. It follows a visit to the theatre to see ‘The Book of Darkness and Light’ and the introduction of a new classic book club run by Dr Price, open to all students and staff.