A quick look on the internet to see what happened on this day in history tells me that Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre was first published in London in 1847. The novel was written after a visit Charlotte made to North Lees Hall in Derbyshire, which then became her inspiration for Thornbridge Hall, home of Mr Rochester.
Derbyshire’s links to the novel don’t end there. In 2006 the BBC produced a television adaptation of the book and used many local areas during the filming. Haddon Hall was used as Thornbridge Hall, and when it is ravaged by fire, so realistic were the special effects that the local fire brigade got numerous calls from worried locals.
The ruined exterior of Wingfield Manor was then used as the devastated Thornbridge.
You can see images from library collections of all of these areas on the website http://www.picturethepast.org.uk and if you want to find out more about these places then visit the Local Studies Library within the Record Office where our extensive catalogue will lead you to many interesting books and articles.
Of course Jane Eyre is not the only novel to be inspired by our beautiful county. The Local Studies Library has as part of its collection a vast number of novels and short stories which have a local setting.
If you are interested in finding out more there will be a talk – ‘A Sense of Place: Derbyshire in fiction’ at Belper Library on Wednesday 14 October 10:30am. Tickets cost £3/£2 concessions. Telephone Belper Library on 01629 533192 to book a place.