Wednesday, 21 March 2007

What's in a name?

Richard Wilcocks writes:

The last few days have been so hectic that I have not had a moment spare to sit down and put new material on the blog. The new material uppermost in my mind is the news release which I had sent to the local and the national media on Monday, which to my surprise brought more responses than my pessimistic mind had imagined.

It was timed to coincide with the posting of the individual (mail-merged) letters to the managing directors of a selection of companies which use the Brontë name. The response from the locals was immediate: soon I was talking to Clive White from the Keighley News (who did plenty of ringing around and googling for us), chatting on the Radio Leeds breakfast programme, answering emails and grabbing phones with not much space in between.

Today was similar, but I did reserve some special time for my son in London, because this morning I became a grandfather for the first time.

I have browsed through the write-ups so far, and I am generally pleased. I quite liked the Independent's article today in spite of the faces which went with it, but I am not sure what Mr Nevin is getting at. I shall look at a copy of the Keighley News soon.

To date, I have had one reply from a company and it was friendly. I shall make a personal visit in the near future. Readers of this blog will be updated. Meanwhile, here is the original media release:


Date: 19 March 2007
For Immediate Release

What’s in a name?

The Chairman of the Brontë Society in Haworth is more than a little irritated by all those companies which use the name Brontë in their names.

“Very few of them have ever been in touch, and even less than that have given us anything by way of sponsorship or financial help,” he said.

“There are dozens of them in Britain alone, making or supplying a range of products, from stone to spring water and from outdoor clothing to cooked chicken. I decided to write to their managing directors”

Here is the letter:

Dear (name of Managing Director)

I am writing to you for the simple reason that your company uses the name Brontë in its title. I am guessing that this was chosen because it confers a certain prestige upon you, associating you in the public’s imagination with the Brontë family and perhaps the Brontë Parsonage Museum as well. Bronte is both the name of a town in Sicily and the Greek word for thunder, and it was chosen by the Reverend Patrick Brontë (with the addition of the diaeresis) as a new version of his family name of Brunty early in the Nineteenth Century, mainly because of its associations with Lord Nelson, a national hero at the time.

I hope that «Company_Name» is currently prospering. I am wondering whether you have recently visited the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, which is run by the Brontë Society. If you have, you will know that the home of the Brontë family, the Georgian house where Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë wrote the books which made them world famous, is lovingly preserved by a dedicated staff in spite of a tight budget.

There is a programme of special events at the museum which runs throughout the year, which includes special exhibitions, talks, day-schools, courses, children’s holiday workshops, film, theatre and musical performances. Its education programme is ‘inspired’ according to the Judges’ Citation for winners of the prestigious Sandford Award.

The Brontë Society possesses one of the most important collections of Brontë items in the world, housed in the Parsonage, an invaluable resource for the many researchers seeking to shed further light on the Brontë writings, the Brontë family and the social, political and economic history of the Brontë times. Thus, there will always be a demand on the Society’s financial resources as newly-discovered and existing Brontëana come on to the market. There is also a considerable cost in the professional care, conservation, storage and management of the Society’s existing collection.

The Brontë Society gets no direct government assistance, so it is reliant on the generosity of its supporters and visitors to the museum. This is where you come in, because I believe that you could help. I am inviting you to make a donation to us, which would be gratefully received and publicly acknowledged.

Your company could sponsor an appropriate artefact, a special event, an exhibition, a children’s workshop…….the list is long. Or, you could contribute to our Acquisitions Fund, with a focus on a particular item. Your company’s name would feature in our publicity.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me by letter or email, or by ringing me directly on xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx I would be very happy to meet you personally to discuss how you could help us.

Best wishes,

Yours sincerely,


Richard Wilcocks

Chairman of the Brontë Society

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I applaud your initiative, though tend to think it is long overdue. Let's hope is bears results.

From an avid Brönte fan in Croatia