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Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Brontës Caught up in Scarborough Heritage Row

From the Yorkshire Post Today:

A CORNER of Scarborough's past fired the childhood imagination of Susan Hill and helped turn her into a leading writer – she even used it as a setting for one of her short stories.
Now the children's author and playwright has been horrified by plans to turn the Wood End Natural History Museum, which once belonged to the Sitwell literary family, into a suite of offices from April.


Ms Hill was a frequent visitor to Wood End in the 1940s and has fond memories of the conservatory put up by Sir George Sitwell to house his tropical plants and trees, populated by parrots and canaries, and the goldfish pond in the middle of the house.

Years later she wrote a short story about it, called In the Conservatory, while the Sitwell Room has also played on her creative imagination.

"Scarborough was my growing up town and has haunted my imagination ever since, especially that house and that room," she added.

But comparing the building with the Brontë parsonage in Haworth, West Yorkshire, and calling for a campaign to "save" it, has got her into a "ding-dong" with local conservationists, who argue that the proposed Creative Industries Centre is the only way of preserving the fabric of the structure.

The only concern of Scarborough Civic Society is that some public access is ensured to the Sitwell Room – possibly by having open days.

Society chairman Roger Foster said: "It is all very well mentioning the Brontës, but there are 200,000 visitors a year to the Howarth [sic.] Parsonage and I very much doubt we have 200 visitors a year to Wood End.

See the rest of the article here.

1 comment:

rinabeana said...

If that's the same Susan Hill who wrote the "sequel" to Rebecca, I detest her!