A public fundraising drive to return one of Charlotte Brontë’s miniature childhood diaries to Yorkshire has reached a third of its target – but organisers warned last night that with only 11 days left before it goes to auction, time was running out.
The “little book”, handwritten by the 14-year-old Charlotte, is expected to fetch £650,000 at the Paris sale. The Brontë Society, based at the Haworth parsonage that was the family’s home, wants to buy it for posterity, having been outbid when it was last auctioned in 2011.
The book is one of a series of six, and has remained in private ownership since it left Haworth after the deaths of the Brontës.
The online “crowdfunder” campaign, which will supplement other grants, was bolstered yesterday by the actress Sarah Lancashire, who said it was “a privilege” to handle one of the others in the series.
“These little books are a unique insight into the 14 year old Charlotte and to be privy to their content feels so intimate,” she said. “The little book belongs here in Haworth.”
A spokesman at the parsonage said the response to the online campaign had been “overwhelming”, adding: “We will go to the auction with whatever we have secured, including from the crowdfunder, and hope that it’s a competitive bid that brings this little book back to where it was written 189 years ago.”