From the desk of Helena Whitbread: A Visit from a Young Scholar

Posted on February 27, 2013


Helena_KristinaOne of the pleasures which sustain me in my work on the journals of Anne Lister is the interest shown by young people in Anne Lister. Here, with me, is Kristina Heitzer from Germany, who kindly gave me permission to reproduce the photograph we had taken at Calderdale Archives where the journals are housed. Kristina is engaged on writing a thesis on Anne Lister for her MA degree.

We are studying one of the twenty-four original hard-backed notebooks which comprise the main body of Anne Lister’s journals… The similarity of these books indicates that she bought them all from the same supplier, Whitley, the local bookseller and stationer in Halifax. A further confirmation is the fact that in 1832, while in Hastings, Anne wrote to her Aunt Anne at Shibden, asking her to “order at Whitley’s 3 Journal books done up as usual containing not less than 370 or 380 pp. each”. Between the covers of these books, Anne’s life is chronicled in minute detail.

After spending the morning at the archives, Kristina and I visited the medieval parish church of St John the Baptist, where the Lister family worshipped for some three centuries.

1We then went to the Shibden Mill Inn for lunch – a very old building, originally built as a mill and owned by the Listers at one point.

2Before taking off for the airport, Kristina came back home with me and we spent a couple of hours looking through my Anne Lister archive built up over the many years I have been involved with my work on her life.

I was left with a very pleasant memory of our day together and the delightful gift of two bottles of wine which she had brought me from her home town in Germany.

Helena Whitbread