International Women’s Day

Date

07 Mar 2024

Time

8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

“Friendship is certainly the finest balm”

In this exciting online collaboration with Jane Austen’s House, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and the Brontë Parsonage, join our four literary houses in an evening to celebrate female friendships. We’ll be looking at the influence these relationships had on the works and in the lives of some of Britain’s most loved writers. 

This is an online event. The cut off to purchase tickets is midnight on the day before the event. Ticket holders will receive Zoom information in their booking confirmation but will also be emailed the Zoom link on the day of the event. If you do not receive joining details by midday (UK time) on the day of the event, please email info@chawtonhouse.org with your order number. The event will be recorded and emailed out to ticket holders who cannot join synchronously within 5 days. Access to working internet is required. Please note this event will take place live. All times are UK GMT. 

Amelia Opie and Mary Wollstonecraft

In the Spring of 1796, 26-year old Amelia Alderson (later Opie) met feminist philosopher and writer Mary Wollstonecraft. In the year of their friendship before Wollstonecraft’s life was tragically cut short after the birth of her second daughter, they exchanged letters – of which a few survive – and developed a close friendship, commenting on one another’s work, discussing events in Revolutionary France, and sharing information about mutual friends including the writers Mary Hays and Elizabeth Inchbald. In this section, we explore the relationship between these two extraordinary women, and the ways that Wollstonecraft’s ideas lived on in the work of Opie, who became a prolific novelist and activist later in life. 

 

Jane Austen and Madame Lefroy 

One of Jane Austen’s dearest friends was her Hampshire neighbour, Mrs Anne Lefroy. Although she was 26 years older than Jane and mother to six children, Mrs Lefroy and Jane shared many interests including writing, literature and poetry, which they discussed avidly. In this section we’ll get to know Mrs Lefroy, who was a fascinating figure in her own right – a published poet, society hostess, school mistress and nurse, she personally administered smallpox vaccines to her Hampshire neighbours every winter. After her tragic death in 1804, Jane Austen commemorated her ‘Beloved friend’ in a heartfelt poem, that we’ll also share. 

 

Elizabeth Gaskell and Tottie Fox

Elizabeth Gaskell found strong female friendship with the fabulously named Eliza ‘Tottie’ Fox. Tottie was an artist and educationalist who enjoyed Elizabeth’s  intimate, funny letters and encouraged her to join early feminist campaigns. Dr Diane Duffy reveals the close friendship that supported Elizabeth through her many literary and personal challenges. 

 

“Three’s a charm” – Charlotte Brontë, Mary and Ellen 

Charlotte’s most important and most enduring friendships were also her first – Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor, who she met at Roe Head School. In this section we’ll look at how important these friendships were, to both Charlotte’s life then and what we know about her life now. 

 

Tickets: £6

This is an online event. The cut off to purchase tickets is midnight on the day before the event. Ticket holders will receive Zoom information in their booking confirmation but will also be emailed the Zoom link on the day of the event. If you do not receive joining details by midday (UK time) on the day of the event, please email info@chawtonhouse.org with your order number. The event will be recorded and emailed out to ticket holders who cannot join synchronously within 5 days. Access to working internet is required. Please note this event will take place live. All times are UK GMT.