Sally Wainwright discusses Anne Lister TV series during birthday celebrations

Birthday celebrations for Anne Lister (Pictures Calderdale Council)
Birthday celebrations for Anne Lister (Pictures Calderdale Council)

Shibden Hall has been celebrating what would have been Anne Lister’s 227th birthday by hosting a special party which included a talk with Sally Wainwright on her latest TV series.

Visitors to the event at Shibden Hall took part in a day of celebration for the noted diarist, including a guided tour and behind the scenes access to the Hall, the collections related to Anne and plans for the future of the Hall and Anne’s legacy.

Special attendees at the event included Anne Lister’s biographer Helena Whitbread, who spoke of the years of research that went into her biography and quoted extracts from Anne’s famous diaries that were written on some her 49 birthdays.

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This included her last birthday in 1840, when she was travelling through Russia to Persia with her partner Ann Walker. Anne Lister died later that year while travelling.

Writers Sally Wainwright and Anne Choma held a discussion about the upcoming television series about Anne Lister which is being filmed at Shibden Hall, ‘Gentleman Jack’. A specially baked birthday cake, complete with 227th birthday icing was cut by Helena Whitbread alongside Sally Wainwright and Anne Choma.

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Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Services, Zohrah Zancudi, said: “The story of Anne Lister is quite incredible and it’s wonderful that we have so many artefacts from her time at Shibden Hall in the Calderdale Museums collections.

“Interest in Anne and her fascinating life is only likely to increase with the upcoming Sally Wainwright series, Gentleman Jack. I’m sure that many more exciting events like this one will be held at Shibden Hall to celebrate Anne’s legacy.”

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The day also included a chance to get up-close-and-personal with some of the objects belonging to Anne Lister, such as her writing desk and music book.

Guests were also able to explore the Tower Library which Anne was having built (she never saw it completed) which is not usually open to the public.

The day concluded with a private tour of Halifax Minster, highlighting the Lister chapel and Anne’s burial place.