The front page to this issue of the Leeds Intelligencer, dating from 4 December 1823, contains an advertisement for the Clergy Daughters's School (see column 3) that was attended by the Brontë sisters from 1824. The advertisement reveals that the school has only recently been established, and appeals for further funds to provide a 'plain and useful Education' for the daughters of the poorer members of the clergy. Included on the list of financial donors are the abolitionist William Wilberforce and writer and moralist Hannah More.
Tragically the two eldest Brontë sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died after an outbreak of typhoid at the school in 1825. On top of this Charlotte reported the generally poor conditions to her family, noting the burnt food and the school's strict, unrelenting routine. Charlotte and Emily were removed from the school after the deaths. These early experiences are considered to have influenced the Lowood School of Charlotte Brontë's novel Jane Eyre (1847).
- Article by:
- Sally Shuttleworth
- The novel 1832 - 1880, Childhood and children's literature
Drawing on children’s literature, educational texts and Charlotte Brontë’s own childhood experience, Professor Sally Shuttleworth looks at the passionate and defiant child of Jane Eyre.