Despite being a lot different from what it used to be during Anne Brontë's lifetime, Scarborough is still Anne's town. It is still the same place where she visited every summer with the family she worked for as governess; the same place she came to love a great deal and where she spent the last days of her painfully short life; and it is the place where she will stay forever being buried in Scarborough's St Mary's graveyard.
Last sunday, for many of her fans, including myself, Scarborough was all about Anne Brontë. Throughout the day Anne's 200th birthday celebration events were taking place, organized by the Brontë Society. I attended the morning forum with Brontë experts and writers at The Grand Hotel and the graveside and church events in the evening. In between I chose to go off to take photos of the town and enjoy the winter sunshine on the seafront, Anne never leaving my mind and spirit.
Much as I enjoyed the celebrations immensely, I don't have any photos of the events; instead I have quite a few shots that depict the beauty, charm and serenity of the seaside retreat Anne loved so dearly, on a gorgeous winter day. I hope Anne would approve of them.
|The Grand Hotel where Anne's bicentenary celebrations were held. As the blue plaque above the entrance says, the hotel is the site of the lodgings where Anne spent her last days and where she died.|
|View over the sea from a Grand Hotel window. In her illness Anne liked to sit at the window and gaze out at the sea she was so fond of.|
|The viaduct promenade near the Grand Hotel.|
|The weather was exceptionally beautiful for January; not too cold to sit on the bench enjoying the view over the sea.|
|Mcbean Steps to Sands by the side of the Grand Hotel|
|But for the hats and winter jackets you would have never guessed this photo was taken in January!|
|South Bay Beach with the Grand Hotel in the background on the right. Give me the low, mellow winter sunlight any time over the strong and harsh summer one when it comes to photography.|
|Love the Scarborough lighthouse and have to take a shot or two regardless of how many times I have photographed it before.|
|The harbour scene caught my eye with its bold seaside colours complete with a seagull posing on the mooring post.|
|Lobster pots - a seaside place curiosity|
|Princess Terrace off Princess Street. I always find it thrilling to come across charming little passages like this.|
|I created this rather dramatic, bookcoverish image of Princess Terrace.|
|At the bottom of Princess Street there are some old, rather run down, but full of character properties.|
|A view of the sea from below the car park opposite St' Mary's Church, also part of the view from Anne's grave.|
|Castle Terrace, near St. Mary's church. Lovely little cul-de-sac on top of a hill with stunning views of the sea.|
|I was delighted to find these hardy red roses on Castle Terrace. It amazes me how they managed to survive into January.|
|St. Mary's Church. The last leg of celebrations was held in the church with a beautiful, specially commissioned piece of audio art by the sonic artist Sarah Dew, followed by closing words of a Brontë scholar.|
|The path and stairs on the edge of St' Mary's Church memorial garden.|
|Late afternoon sunny skies over the Scarborough sea; view from St Mary's churchyard.|
|The weather stayed bright and sunny and the day of Anne Brontë's 200th birthday celebrations was blessed with a gorgeous sunset.|
|As I left the church the sun had already set having painted the sky most incredible vivid colours. Such an appropriate ending to a wonderful day!|
It really was a marvellous day, and it was only a beginning! It is only January and there is a whole year of celebrations of Anne's life ahead of us in Haworth and elsewhere. I am so looking forward to experience as much of it as I can.
To close this post, here is the poem by Anne that was read at her grave on the day. It is about one of Anne's greatest loves - that of the sea.
"My soul is awakened, my spirit is soaring
And carried aloft on the wings of the breeze;
For above and around me the wild wind is roaring,
Arousing to rapture the earth and the seas.
The long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
The bare trees are tossing their branches on high;
The dead leaves, beneath them, are merrily dancing,
The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky.
I wish I could see how the ocean is lashing
The foam of its billows to whirlwinds of spray;
I wish I could see how its proud waves are dashing,
And hear the wild roar of their thunder today!"