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Gentleman Jack TV series increases tourism to Anne Lister's Yorkshire home

Telegraph Reporters
Shibden Hall in West Yorkshire has seen a sharp increase in tourist since BBC show. - www.Alamy.com

The manor house where lesbian diarist Anne Lister lived is to extend its opening hours to accommodate the increase of tourists following the success of the TV series, Gentleman Jack.

Grade II listed Shibden Hall, in Halifax, Yorkshire, dates back to 1420 and previously had 100 visitors on a good day. 

Visitor numbers to the Hall, where the series was filmed, are now topping 300-400, according to museums manager Richard Macfarlane.

Calderdale Council has also reported an increase in tourism in the region.

The Hall will now open on Fridays to accommodate the increased interest and the council are discussing the possibility of opening the Hall during winter.

Lister, who was born in 1791, is known for her extensive diaries which detailed her life and lesbian relationships.

She has been described as the "first modern lesbian", and was an avid diarist who wrote some five million words, equating to 26 volumes and 7,722 pages, throughout her life.

The diaries detailed her life as a landowner, businesswoman, intrepid traveller and mountaineer, according to Calderdale Museums.

In 2011, the United Nations classed her journals as a “pivotal” document. 

Suranne Jones played Anne Lister in the hit show. Credit: Andrew Crowley /Andrew Crowley 

The hit TV drama, starring Suranne Jones, was watched by almost six million people every week when it aired in May.

Some of the costumes from the BBC series, designed by Tom Pye, will be displayed at Bankfield Museum, Halifax, until October 26.

Calderdale Council, who operates the Hall, said it was hoped the new opening times would be in effect before the August bank holiday weekend.

The council said visitors from as far as the U.S., where the show is broadcast by HBO, have travelled to see Lister's home.

Councillor Susan Press said: "We want to ensure that visitors continue to have a positive experience at our museums and we are working on a number of plans to improve our offer."

Visitors to Shibden Hall can journey through the lives of the people who lived and worked there, as well as taking in its mix of architecture which detail its varied history. 

They can also take a stroll through the restored gardens and the estate, which form Shibden Park.