Sunday, 26 August 2012

Keighley Corporation Waterworks

Ages ago one of my weather collectors, Mike, gave me (on loan) some old annual reports from Keighley Corporation Waterworks that he'd been given. They date from 1917. There are a few into the 1920's, a couple from 1930's and one from 1956. They are simple, beautiful pamphlets giving information on the reservoirs around Haworth.
There are tables of rainfall and also the mention of wettest months or length of time without rain.
The 1917 report describes conditions in 1916:

"The longest period of continuous rainfall occurred between 12-0 noon on March 15th to 4-0 am on March 17th, a period of 40 hours, during which the total rainfall amounted to 1.27 inches.

On November 18th, 1916, there was a short sharp shower of rain at 8.25 pm amounting to .07 of an inch, but this fell almost at once as no appreciable interval of time can be seen on the Hyetograph diagram. The rate might therefore be considered to be anything between 4 1/2 inches per hour and 18 or 20 inches per hour. Such sudden rainfall requires to be specially observed to get an accurate measurement of the exact interval of fall, but unfortunately in these special cases, even if the sudden deluge occurs during the daytime, the shower is over before its intensity is realized."

Between 4 1/2 inches and 20 inches per hour?! No wonder the reservoirs have been built in the area.
I know the dates don't match up to my Bronte time dates - but it's fascinating reading and i've enjoyed perusing the information.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Shirley by Charlotte Bronte

"Mr Moore haunted his mill, his mill-yard, his dyehouse, and his warehouse till the sickly dawn strengthened into day. The sun even rose - at least a white disc, clear, tintless and almost chill-looking as ice, peeped over the dark crest of a hill, changed to silver the livid edge of a cloud above it, and looked solemnly down the whole length of the den, or narrow dale, to whose straight bounds we are present limited."

Shirley was written in 1848 / 49 by Charlotte Bronte

I am only 100 pages into Shirley (out of 600 odd pages) - i'm finding that i'm a bit Bronted out at the moment and not able to read too much of it in one go. However, there are some really nice passages in it - so i'm going to persevere.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Dressing Up

Since the Bronte Weather Project started in October 2011 I have read masses of Bronte texts and related material: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte; The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte; Jane Eyre, The Professor and half of Shirley (i'm still reading it) by Charlotte Bronte; plus about 200 letters and nearly 100 poems. I've tried to learn weather patterns, cloud names and how to decipher my collected weather data; i've looked at historical records about health and illness; about environmental issues and how the weather is key to the moorland habitat around Haworth; i've contacted quite a few experts for their advice and opinions and visited other museums to look at weather related equipment and records.
I then spent quite a bit of time drawing, painting, printing, making, constructing, framing and installing the finished works...

So, i was delighted when a journalist called the other day and asked "in one sentence, how did the weather inspire the Bronte sisters?" He said that with all the bad weather we were having lately it was something that the national papers would be interested in - especially with all the interest in the Bronte sisters. I was even more thrilled when the photographer asked if he could take my picture out on the moors, and asked if i knew of anyone i could borrow traditional costume from to dress up in. Tragically, i don't know anyone who i could borrow any frocks from, so we couldn't do it.

I wondered if i could dress up as Kate Bush - might that do?

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Literary Weather

I've been away for a few days - here and there. On Thursday last week it was the Literary Weather event at the Bronte Parsonage Museum where I was in conversation with Alexandra Harris. It all went really well (no booing from the audience) and i really enjoyed meeting Alexandra and talking about the Brontes and the weather, Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf and stuff. The Parsonage gave everyone tea and cake which went down very well.

I was then in Wales for the weekend and then on Monday i was in Thornton near Bradford to take down the South Square Gallery exhibition. That went good too - i was worried about how i'd get the 9m long drawing off the wall without ripping it to pieces - but in the end it came down ok - a smooth operation of holding and rolling the drawing up with one hand, while un-clipping it from the wall with the other, while holding my breath.

The images above show cake, obviously, and a page from The Beginner's Guide to Weather Forecasting by Stanley Wells. I bought it from a charity shop the other day - it has wonderful diagrams in it and symbols of the weather too.