Thursday, June 2, 2022

Anne Lister In Her Own Words Exhibition in Wakefield

On the 12th of April my mum came to work with me - where she is treasurer - because she needed to get some things updated, and we needed to do the payroll year end. It used to take absolutely forever, but these days, where you submit information monthly, it takes about fifteen minutes from start to finish. So we got everything done by about 1.30, and then we went to the West Yorkshire archives, in a building that neither of us has been in before, to see some of Anne Lister's diaries.

You know Anne Lister from the TV programme Gentleman Jack, I'm sure, even if you had never heard of her before. She is regarded by many as the first 'modern lesbian'. Last June Sam and Jac and I went to the church in York where she and Ann Walker took their sacraments together and made pledges to each other. Then last autumn Sam and Jodie and Lee and I went to Shibden Hall where Anne lived. I was so excited when series 2 of Gentleman Jack started just a couple of days before this, it was marvellous. I had heard that some of Anne's diaries were in Wakefield so asked my mum to go with me. 

The exhibition wasn't very big at all so I'm glad it wasn't too far out of our way, but there were several of her diaries, opened to show pages of her writing. A lot of it was coded, mainly to hide her sexual relationships with women but also apparently to make comments about her peers! It was interesting to read more about the codebreakers, and more about Anne's life, although I do know quite a bit about it already. There was a picture of an excellent tapestry that had been done about Anne too, I'd love to see it in person! 

It was cool to see, if very small!

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