Monday 15 January 2024

The Brontës come to a grocery store in Merchtem

The Brontës Went to Woolworths, the title of a 1931 novel by the British writer Rachel Ferguson, features in a talk by Valerie Sanders to be given to the Brussels Brontë Group later this year, in which Professor Sanders will talk to us about "clothes and shopping in the Brontë novels." 
Here in Belgium this Christmas, the Brontës went not to Woolworths but to a grocery store in Merchtem.

Merchtem, a town in Flemish Brabant, is the home of Jean de Wolf. Jean, a fervent Brontë fan and member of our group, retired engineer and creator of remarkable models of ships and buildings, was asked by a local shopkeeper to lend her his scale model of Top Withens for her Christmas window display. Top Withens, today in ruins, is of course the farmhouse on the Yorkshire moors that may have inspired Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.

The model, which took three years to construct, formed the centre-piece of a splendid Brontë-themed display featuring books and pictures loaned by Jean, in among the Christmas goodies and other groceries.
The model is proving popular in Flemish Brabant and East Flanders. Prior to this, Jean had already displayed it to cinema-goers at a cinema in Dendermonde screening the film Emily, and to a class of teenagers reading the novel at a school in Asse.

 -- Helen MacEwan

No comments: