Anne Lister: Events to mark 183 years since the death of Yorkshire diarist of Gentleman Jack fame
Now, to mark 183 years today since the death of the remarkable diarist, a series of events are launched to celebrate her life and legacy. There are to be talks and tours, walks and memorial services, centred around the places and people she held most dear.
Coun Jenny Lynn, from Calderdale Council, said the district was "incredible proud" of its connection to Anne Lister. As museums and groups prepare to open their doors, she said it was striking to see the strength of support.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that Anne’s story has changed people’s lives and we continue to hear stories about how she has inspired people to be their true selves, which is just wonderful," she said.
"Last year’s events were incredibly popular and, in many cases, very emotional," she added. "The outpouring of affection felt for Anne, the people she loved, and the places she lived and visited, is truly extraordinary and I’ve no doubt that this year’s events programme will be as popular and as inspirational as ever.”
Dubbed the first modern lesbian, Anne Lister was born in Halifax on April 3, 1791 and died September 22 1840. She was a landowner, entrepreneur, mountaineer, scholar, and traveller, who refused to conform to society's expectations.
Her diaries, detailing her life, loves and politics, were to become world-famous through Sally Wainwright’s BBC/HBO series, Gentleman Jack.
There are to be special services today at Halifax Minster, with exhibitions over coming days at the central library and archives. Flowers are to be laid at the Piece Hall sculpture tomorrow, while author Jill Liddington - whose book inspired Gentleman Jack - will host a talk on her new publication ‘As Good As A Marriage’.
On Sunday morning there is also to be the rare opportunity to visit Lightcliffe Tower and the memorials it contains, including that of Anne Lister's wife, Ann Walker.
Ian Philp, chair of the Friends of St Matthew's Churchyard, said the site has seen increasing numbers of visitors over recent years, from as far afield as America, Canada and Australia.
"We're in a position to share the history of it, and the connections with Gentleman Jack which created a lot of interest," he said. "Probably eight of the real characters from within that story are buried within our churchyard."
Ann is also the focus of a talk that evening, detailing her life after the death of her wife. And on September 30 there is to be a special reading of Emma Donaghue’s new novel, ‘Learned By Heart’. Booking for both will be essential, while visits to Shibden Hall, Anne Lister's former home and the location for much of the filming, is open every day for visitors.
Visit culturedale.co.uk for more.