Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Parsonage People: Ann Dinsdale

Ann Dinsdale spoke to Richard Wilcocks:

I think I have to be classed as one of the longest-serving members of staff because I started in 1989, as a part-time museum assistant. I did a few hours in the library then became a full-timer there, assistant to Kathryn White.

At the moment I am librarian. I am at work on the catalogue project, but usually my work involves sourcing and cataloguing materials, running the picture library, looking after readers, dealing with hundreds of enquiries every year and working on the exhibitions.

The collections assistant, Linda Proctor-Mackley, is dealing with the bulk of the enquiries at the moment. Email has made things much faster and easier and we are receiving more and more of them each year because of it.

Pictures from the library for publications are now sent as jpgs by email to people who always want them right now!

Although I have lived most of my life in the Haworth area, I was born just over the border in Colne, Lancashire. The Brontës first cast their spell over me when I came to the Parsonage as a child on a school visit in the late 1960s. Haworth and the Parsonage quickly became special places for me. Little did I know that one day I would be lucky enough to work there.

If I had to name one favourite author apart from the Brontës I would choose Daphne du Maurier, but I read books by many different authors. I spend a lot of my time reading.

My leisure time is often taken up with visiting other museums and stately homes because I can concentrate on the exhibits rather than looking with a professional eye all the time. I like old towns too - like Whitby.

Our leads for the missing film of Wuthering Heights which was featured on the front page of the last Brontë Society Gazette seem to have dried up. It generated so much interest: if it does turn up, a man from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra would be interested in writing a score for it. A BBC documentary team and someone from the Culture Show rang me about the search, too.

One of my ambitions is to visit Italy again, because of its association with the Fine Arts. Perhaps I will be able to learn some Italian for the occasion. I have been to Venice fairly recently. Perhaps it will be Siena next time.

Whilst working at the Parsonage I have met many interesting people, for example Sally Wainwright, who wrote the play about Emily's supposed lover which was on the radio. She's terrific, a very down-to-earth person. Then there's Simon Warner the photographer. I am working with him at the moment on a book to be called The Brontës at Haworth, to be published in September by Frances Lincoln.

The spotlight will be on other members of staff at the Parsonage in future postings.


Brontëana said...

What a nice idea, to interview people who work at the Parsonage! It makes me feel like I'm not so distant.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann,
Just watched the Perrpectives programme with Sheilaa Hancock. Thank you so much for your 'presentation'. It was clever, understated and supported by a huge knowledge and much experience and understanding of the Bronte story. Thank you. Jan Lee (volunteer)

ReaderWoman said...

Is there an excerpt of the book available? Thanks! (readerwoman (at) gmail (dot) com