The Bronte Parsonage Museum has received a donation of £20,000 from the family of T.S. Eliot following the financial toll taken by the coronavirus on the museum’s profits.
The historic building where the famed Bronte sisters were raised is at risk of permanent closure as lockdown caused an expected loss of more than £500,000.
Despite the museum’s reopening on the 28th August, visitors are strictly limited, with The Bronte Society predicting a “significant reduction is visitor numbers and associated income” leading into 2021.
As a result, The Bronte Society will enter a consultation period, leading to possible redundancies at the museum.
Rebecca Yorke, a spokesperson for the society, spoke of the potential connection between the Bronte family and Eliot: “It is thought that the ‘Bradford millionaire’ that Eliot refers to in The Waste Land may have been Sir James Roberts, who was a customer of the bank where Eliot worked”.
Sir James bought Haworth Parsonage and gifted it to The Bronte Society in 1928.
A grant from the Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund allowed for the reopening of the museum, although Yorke expressed how Eliot’s donation has done more than offer financial relief, speaking of how “it’s wonderful that there is still a connection between Eliot and Brontes all these years later”.
Words by Charlotte Creamore
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