These events are taking place for the Anne Lister Birthday Festival in Calderdale

Hundreds of visitors are set to flock to the borough for dozens of events taking place across Halifax from Friday, April 1 marking Anne Lister’s 231st birthday.

By Abigail Kellett
Friday, 1st April 2022, 10:00 am

They include conversations at Victoria Theatre with Sally Wainwright, writer and director of the hugely popular Gentleman Jack drama which has shared lesbian diarist Anne’s story and achievements across the world.

The businesswoman and scholar’s home, Shibden Hall, will be open throughout the festival, and there will be talks, tours and gatherings at a host of other sites, including The Piece Hall, Dean Clough and Halifax Minster.

The Anne Lister Birthday Festival 2022 gives visitors the opportunity to follow in Anne Lister’s footsteps in Halifax. Explore the places she knew, learn about her life, and see where the TV show Gentleman Jack was filmed.

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Shibden Hall, Halifax.

These are just some of the many events set to take place over the next ten days:

Friday April 1

Tours of Shibden Hall: Anne Lister’s home of Shibden Hall will be open daily 10am-4pm during the Anne Lister Birthday Festival

Halifax Minster: Halifax Minster is open daily for quiet reflection during the Anne Lister Birthday Festival 2022. Refreshments available.

Alibi Bar Mix and Mingle: The Alibi Bar Grand Salon, part of what was once Rawson’s bank, is hosting a mix and mingle from 6.30pm. Tickets are £23 and available at www.victoriatheatre.co.uk.

Saturday April 2

Display of Anne Lister’s Diaries: Halifax Central Library & Archive will be showcasing Anne Lister’s diaries at several free events throughout the festival. Places must be booked in advance

Come and be a Code Breaker: Between 10.30am and 11.30am visitors to Bankfield Museum will be inspired by famous diarist Anne Lister to create their own code, make diaries, and decipher historic codes around the Museum. This activity is aimed at 6-12 year olds and places should be booked.

Kids’ Craft Activities at Central Library: Make your own diary, decorate a top hat or have a go at some code breaking puzzles. At Halifax Central Library from 10.30am to 2.30pm.

Guided Tours of Lister Lane Cemetery: A guided tour of Lister Lane Cemetery with David Glover, 4pm, will look at graves and tombstones with links to Anne Lister and Ann Walker.

Halifax Antiquarian Society Open Day: Between 10.30am and 3pm Halifax Antiquarian Society’s Library, at Halifax Central Library, will be open for any Anne Lister or other fans who wish to visit (maximum 15 in room at a time).

Victorian Artisan Market at Shibden Hall: Market on the lawn outside Shibden Hall. Free entry to the Market. 10am to 5pm.

The Complete Anne and Ann Coach and Walking Tour: This Anne and Ann tour will give visitors the entire broad view into the lives of these courageous women. It includes a visit to Ann’s resting place at Lightcliffe Churchyard; entry into the locked tower to view her memorial plaque; a self-guided tour of the graves of so many of the people you’ve met through Gentleman Jack, including Sam Washington, Sam Sowden and Captain Sutherland. From there we go to Shibden Hall, where you will have a private viewing. Tour gathers at Anne Lister’s statue at the Piece Hall fifteen minutes prior to departure at 9am. Tickets are £45 and available at www.victoriatheatre.co.uk.

Sunday April 3

Sally Wainwright & O’Hooley and Tidow at the Victoria Theatre: The Victoria Theatre, Halifax will be featuring avery special interview with the writer / director of Gentleman Jack, Sally Wainwright. Alongside the talk. the talent behind the Gentleman Jack theme song, O’Hooley and Tidow, will perform a concert to celebrate Anne Lister’s birthday.

Bell Ringing & Breakfast to celebrate Anne Lister’s Birthday: Step back in time and experience the iconic history of The Piece Hall. This impressive building, the UKs only remaining Georgian cloth hall, was in a different league to other cloth halls, attracting manufacturers and merchants from all over Europe. Its weekly market was ideal for serving the needs of small-scale woollen clothiers, and when The Piece Hall opened in 1779, the bell was rung weekly at 10am to mark the start of trade for merchants and buyers. You can now relive this tradition of the past. On Sunday April 3 the bell will ring at 10am to mark the start of trading and to celebrate what would have been Anne Lister’s 231st Birthday. Tickets are £30 and available from www.thepiecehall.co.uk. 9.45am to 11.15am.

The Gentlewoman’s Wardrobe – Fashion in the Era of Anne Lister: Join popular dress historian Lucy Adlington for a delightful talk on the clothes and customs of the 1790s – 1830s with a truly beautiful array of original garments and accessories to admire. Taking place at The Piece Hall between 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Tickets are £15.

Victorian Artisan Market at Shibden Hall: Market on the lawn outside Shibden Hall. Free entry to the Market. 11am to 5pm.

ALBW Birthday Bash and Dance Party at Dean Clough: To celebrate Anne Lister’s Birthday there will be a party at The Arches, Dean Clough from 9.30pm. Drinks for purchase, dancing, and DJ Mandy from the Todmorden Women’s Disco. Quieter bar area also available. Tickets are £7 and available at www.victoriatheatre.co.uk.

Monday April 4

Anne Lister Heritage Talk: The Sutherlands: David Glover will be holding a talk at Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax, 2pm, will focus on Ann Walker’s In-Laws – the Sutherlands, from the Highlands to Lightcliffe – and beyond.

Display of Anne Lister’s Diaries: Halifax Central Library & Archive will be showcasing Anne Lister’s diaries at several free events throughout the festival. Places must be booked in advance.

Tuesday April 5

Fashions in the Time of Anne Lister Introductory Tour: A tour of the ‘Fashion in the Time of Anne Lister’ exhibition at Bankfield Museum with Curator, Elinor Camille-Wood. The event begins at 10.30am and is free, but booking required.

Conserving Anne Lister’s Diaries: A talk about the conservation and treatment work undertaken on Anne’s diaries at Halifax Library. The talk is £5 and booking is required. 10.30am and 2.30pm.

The Way of the Setts Anne Lister Pilgrimage: The Way of the Setts Anne Lister Pilgrimage is focused around central aspects of the life of Anne Lister (3rd April 1791 – 22nd September 1840). The holy site of the Parish Church (Halifax Minster); Shibden Hall; and the paths which Anne regularly walked between these two historic buildings. The basis of this pilgrimage is Anne’s strong and unwavering faith, which did not conflict with any aspect of her life, and took her back and forth, from her home at Shibden Hall to the parish church to worship. Booking not required, but please meet at the Minster at 11.15am to set off at 11.30am.

Shibden 600 Introductory Tour: Introductory tour of the ‘Shibden 600’ exhibition with Curator, Eli Dawson. Go along for a personal insight into the making of the exhibition, 600 years of Shibden’s history and the story behind the exclusive portraits of Mariana and Charles Lawton.

Wednesday April 6

Anne Lister’s Father and the American Revolution: An exclusive talk from Museum Curator Eli Dawson and Military Historian John Spencer to learn about the life of British Army Officer Jeremy Lister and his experiences of fighting in the Revolutionary War. The talk is £5 and booking is required.

Thursday April 7

Conserving Anne Lister’s Diaries: A talk about the conservation and treatment work undertaken on Anne’s diaries at Halifax Library. The talk is £5 and booking is required. 10.30am and 2.30pm.

Cunnery Wood Volunteer Day: Follow in the footsteps and spade marks of the people who did the hard graft at Shibden Hall. Join staff and volunteers from Calderdale Countryside Service to assist with management of Cunnery Wood in the grounds of Shibden Estate – cutting back vegetation and habitat creation. The event is free. To book a place email [email protected]

Fashions in the Time of Anne Lister Introductory Tour: A tour of the ‘Fashion in the Time of Anne Lister’ exhibition at Bankfield Museum with Curator, Elinor Camille-Wood. The event begins at 10.30am and is free, but booking required.

Rivals and Riches with Jill Liddington: Jill Liddington discusses the complex relationship between Anne Lister and Christopher Rawson in his own home, circa 1808-49. Gain exclusive entry to this magnificent Georgian house as Jill explores the industrial rivalry and political allegiance between two of Halifax’s most distinguished historical figures. The event will take place at Hope Hall, Clare Road, Halifax at 6pm. To book visit www.victoriatheatre.co.uk.

Display of Anne Lister’s Diaries: Halifax Central Library & Archive will be showcasing Anne Lister’s diaries at several free events throughout the festival. Places must be booked in advance.

Shibden 600 Introductory Tour: Introductory tour of the ‘Shibden 600’ exhibition with Curator, Eli Dawson. Go along for a personal insight into the making of the exhibition, 600 years of Shibden’s history and the story behind the exclusive portraits of Mariana and Charles Lawton.

Friday April 8

Crafting Day at Halifax Minster: Pay a visit to Halifax Minster where Anne Lister worshipped and where her baptism and funeral services were held. The Minster Broderers are running a day course where you will be able to make a hand-stitched diary/journal cover inspired by Anne Lister. Using simple stitch techniques you can create your own keepsake to remind you of your visit to the Anne Lister Birthday Festival.Tickets are £30 and can be booked at www.eventbrite.co.uk.

Display of Anne Lister’s Diaries: Halifax Central Library & Archive will be showcasing Anne Lister’s diaries at several free events throughout the festival. Places must be booked in advance.

Saturday April 9

Anne Lister Creative Writing Workshop: Using unique historical resources about Anne Lister, Ann Walker and their connections to the local area , you will be guided and inspired to create your own writing – poetry or prose – about Anne herself or other themes, such as secrets, forbidden love, inspirational women or Calderdale. Led by local writer, facilitator and library staff member Emma Decent. 1pm to 3.30pm. The event is free but booking is essential.

Sunday April 10

Writing Anne Lister: an LGBTQ+ History with Jill Liddington: For the closing event of the Anne Lister Birthday Festival 2022, Happy Valley Pride is proud to welcome Jill Liddington whose research into the diaries of Anne Lister inspired the BBC1/HBO series Gentleman Jack. In this lecture, Dr Liddington explores precisely how Anne Lister has been presented by different generations of editors and historians. She traces this story through the lens of LGBT history, from 1840 when Anne Lister died, right up to Gentleman Jack in 2019. The event will take place at Hebden Bridge Little Theatre at 2pm. Tickets are £5 and available at www.happyvalleypride.co.uk.

There are so many events taking place across the week. For more visit www.victoriatheatre.co.uk and www.visitcalderdale.com