AUTHOR Charlotte Brontë will "time-travel" nearly two centuries to introduce a new visitors' guide that uncovers her life in and around the Spen Valley and the places that inspired her novel Shirley.
At the launch of Shirley Country on Friday, May 19, she will meet her friends, Ellen Nussey of Birstall and Mary Taylor of Gomersal, as well as characters from the book which caused a sensation when it was published in 1849.
Charlotte and Ellen will arrive by horse and carriage at Oakwell Hall in Birstall - the inspiration for Fieldhead in Shirley - to be greeted by the Mayor of Kirklees, Clr Margaret Fearnley, and guests.
Charlotte visited Oakwell in the 1840s when it was a young ladies' boarding school and her friend, Ellen, knew the owners.
After refreshments provided by the Friends of Oakwell and short dramatisations from Shirley, the friends will travel by carriage to nearby Red House Museum, where they will be welcomed by Mary Taylor who lived there in the 1830s.
Charlotte was a regular visitor to Red House and featured it as Briarmains and the Taylors, who were woollen cloth merchants, as the Yorke family in her novel. The museum has a permanent exhibition, The Secret's Out, that looks at Charlotte's connections with the Spen Valley.
Compiled by Kirklees Council tourism staff and the council's community history service, the guide features information and a map of 14 public sites that form the Spen Valley's Shirley Country. The guide also contains a section on Brontë-linked locations that have been demolished or are part of private estates.