TV’s Christa gives Brontë talk

Brook House, Ogden, home of  Look North presenter Christa Ackroyd and husband Chris where they also run  a Bed and Breakfast business.  31 May 2011.'Picture Bruce Rollinson
Brook House, Ogden, home of Look North presenter Christa Ackroyd and husband Chris where they also run a Bed and Breakfast business. 31 May 2011.'Picture Bruce Rollinson

A TV personality gave a talk on the Brontës – and the influence of the Luddite uprising on their work – at the church where their father was curate.

BBC Look North presenter Christa Ackroyd, who is a member of the Brontë Society, gave a talk on the life of the Brontë family at St Peter’s Church, Hartshead, where the Rev Patrick Brontë was curate from 1812 to 1815.

The talk was on Saturday – the 157th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë’s death.

John Appleyard, who was in the audience, said: “Christa asked if anyone had a favourite quote from the Brontë books.

“My favourite quote, and one which she read out is from Charlotte’s book, Shirley, in which she talks about the Luddites in the Spen Valley area. ‘Misery generates hate. These sufferers hated the machines which they believed took their bread from them; they hated the buildings which contained those machines; they hated the manufacturers who owned those buildings.’

“Those words are as relevant today as when Charlotte first wrote them.”

Christa gave her talk at the table from whichPatrick spoke from while he was curate at the church.

John said: “Christa believed Patrick was a much maligned character, and wished to put the record straight regarding his life. He was born in Ireland of poor and humble birth. Due to his background it was a remarkable achievement for him to be admitted to Cambridge university.

“When he was minister at St Peter’s he lived with his wife, Maria, in the three storey Clough house in Hightown. Their first two children, Maria and Elizabeth, were born there. Both died of tuberculosis at an early age.

“He had a social conscience, bitterly opposing the Poor Law, and campaigned against workhouses. He believed education for girls was every bit as important as education for boys.”

Christa also spoke about her life in journalism and the event raised more than £1,000 for church funds.”