Few remember either Grace Poole or Bertha Mason, but they were exceptional in that they gave attics a particularly bad name. The clangings on the third floor of the mansion Thornfield in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre foreshadowed the discovery of caregiver Poole and her ward, the insane Mason.
These days, homeowners have much higher hopes for their attics. They have swept out the cobwebs and chased down the mice, stapled in insulation and strengthened the floor joists, added Sheetrock and big windows.
What a way to start an article about the latest in attic-y improvements! Few remember Grace and Bertha indeed! But am I the only one amused that their significance is that they gave a bad name to attics everywhere?
Image is of the attic 'madwoman's room' of Norton Conyers, one of the halls which served as the inspiration for Thornfield Hall. There is a full-size image in the Brontëana archives.
Sunday, April 23, 2006