In April 2022, Gentleman Jack returns to our screens. The hit BBC/HBO show is written by Sally Wainwright and produced by Lookout Point TV:
"Yorkshire, 1834. All eyes are on Anne Lister and Ann Walker as they set up home together at Shibden Hall as wife and wife, determined to combine their estates and become a power couple. Anne Lister’s entrepreneurial spirit frightens the locals as much as her unconventional love life and, with Halifax on the brink of revolution, her refusal to keep a low profile becomes provocative and dangerous."
THE REAL ANNE LISTER AKA 'GENTLEMAN JACK'
Gentleman Jack the TV show was filmed in West Yorkshire and, in particular, at Shibden Hall. It was Shibden Hall that was home to the real Gentleman Jack – Anne Lister. Shibden Hall is just three miles from Holdsworth House Hotel and the similarities in both historical houses' interiors are striking.
Today, Shibden Hall is owned by Calderdale Council and is open to visitors as a museum. Parking and entry are charged at a fee (but if you book a Gentleman Jack break at Holdsworth House, your entry tickets are included). Shibden Park is a beautiful park with a miniature railway, cafe and boating lake and it is worth a day out.
ANNE LISTER AND ELIZABETH WADSWORTH
When Anne Lister lived at Shibden Hall, a lady named Elizabeth Wadsworth lived at Holdsworth House. Both ladies were educated at The Manor School in York and both moved in similar social circles in Halifax. Both Lister and Wadsworth were diarists and their diaries can be found at the Halifax Central Library.
Despite Lister being almost a generation younger than Wadsworth, their diaries show similar interests. We know that both attended the Madam Tussaud waxworks exhibition in Halifax in July 1820. They shared the same family doctors (Mr Sunderland and Mr Kenny) and both were acquainted with the Walker family at Crow Nest (Lister more so!).
Extract from Elizabeth Wadsworth's Diary, 1820 mentions 'Mr Brunty' – Vicar of Haworth Patrick Bronte (born Patrick Brunty at Drumballyroney, near Rathfriland, County Down): "Some in full mourning for the King. Mr Heap preached at Howarth and the people there seemed inclined to have Mr Brunty."
GENTLEMAN JACK SEASON 1
Season one of Gentleman Jack proved an incredible hit, not just in the UK but in the US. With the bulk of the production budget provided by the US television network HBO, the season aired there first, and a huge fan base emerged.
For many women, the show proved incredibly poignant and liberating, as the storyline gripped and resonated. In Halifax, two ladies met up as a result of the show and went on to get married at Holdsworth House (read their story here).
Since Season one aired, an Anne Lister Birthday Week (ALBW) has been created by US super-fan Pat Esgate. Taking place in Halifax, England, the week-long series involves literary, musical, theatre events, walks and talks. ALBW takes in many locations noted in Anne Lister's diaries, plus many of those used for filming Gentleman Jack.
GENTLEMAN CAT MERCHANDISE
For a memento of your visit to Halifax or a gift for Gentleman Jack superfans, browse our Gentleman Cat merchandise.
Eric is the resident cat at Holdsworth House Hotel & Restaurant in Halifax, West Yorkshire. You'll know him if you've visited Holdsworth House in recent years. Adopted as a stray, he has become a firm favourite with our guests. He can generally be found in the hotel reception welcoming guests. He even has his own Instagram page @bosscateric
This fantastic image of Eric was created by illustrator Jo Bird and inspired by the BBC/HBO TV costume drama Gentleman Jack.