Burns’ Return/Threat to Brontë Sisters’ Moors – Poetry News Roundup April 5th

Our first poetry news round-up of the week looks at a statue of Robert Burns returning to the village of his birth and the threat to the moors that inspired the Brontë sisters.

Antiques Roadshow Values Poet Statue

On Sunday, the Antiques Roadshow saw one of its heaviest ever pieces bought in by a member of the public. The episode, which took place near Alloway, the birthplace of the poet Robert Burns saw a very heavy statue of the poet arriving from South Africa for a valuation.

The statue, which was made of bronze, had been found on a compost heap in a garden in Durban, South Africa, in the 1950s and had been rescued by a family who had later sold it on in 2015.

Made of six parts, the statue was surprisingly undamaged and weighed in at around a third of a tonne. The base had an inscription of one of the poet”s poems on it.

It is believed that the statue may have been shipped to South Africa during the 1900s when gold mining and exploration were at their height. It was possibly displayed in a grand house and then removed when fashions changed.

The experts said that whilst cast iron statues do not generally attract high value, given the subject of the statue they believed it would be worth between £10,000 and £15,000 and that collectors may consider it more valuable.

The owners had brought the statue home from South Africa and planned to keep it at their home in Alloway.

Moors that Inspired Emily Brontë Under Threat

In a move that has upset Bronte lovers all over the world, Bradford Council has unveiled plans to build a sprawling housing estate on the North Yorkshire moors that inspired not just Emily Brontë but also her sisters. The wild and windy moors inspired Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and have also featured in a number of period dramas filmed for television.

The proposed plans would see 150 houses built across the Yorkshire landscape where the Brontë’s grew up. They are a significant part of the local tourism infrastructure with the creation three years ago of the Bronte Stones Walk, visitors come from all over the world to see the area that inspired the sisters in their writing. Locals are horrified by the plans which they say would not only destroy the beautiful views but also the major source of income that the area has. Popularity for the Brontë’s can be seen all over the world, and anger at the project has been voiced by fans as far away as Russia and Australia. The Brontë’s are the UK’s biggest literary export after Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare.

If the plans go ahead, the 14-acre development is expected to be fully completed in 6 years. It will alter the landscape completely and also the setting of a staggering 13 Grade II listed buildings that are located nearby.

It is expected that there will be significant opposition to the plans, which a council spokesman admitted has the potential to completely alter the setting of a number of sensitive heritage assets and must be done in a sympathetic manner.

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