A real treasure: Anne Lister’s writing case back at Shibden

Historian Helena Whitbread examines Anne Lister's writing case
Historian Helena Whitbread examines Anne Lister's writing case
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AN ANTIQUE case that Shibden Hall diarist Anne Lister kept her writing materials in has been returned to her former home.

A family in France who have held the heirloom for a number of years have given it back to the manor which Miss Lister owned between 1826 and 1840.

It is thought they inherited the treasure from Halifax family the Whitleys - but how the Whitleys came to possess it is a mystery.

Halifax historian Helena Whitbread, who deciphered the coded parts of Miss Lister’s journals, was among the first to see the case back in its rightful home.

“It’s marvellous that the actual writing case she used in penning these journals is on display for all to see at Shibden,” she said.

Miss Lister’s diaries run to four million words charting her life and relationships with women. They were the subject of BBC drama last year and have just won a United Nations heritage award.

Mrs Whitbread said: “They are indeed a national treasure of international renown. What would be particularly nice now is to find the funding to enable full transcripts of the journals and the correspondence in order that they can be made more widely available.”

Calderdale Council cabinet member Pauline Nash said: “Anne Lister travelled widely and would have used this case to keep all of her writing materials safe. This latest award makes this item a true piece of history and a real treasure.”