Who was Lydia Robinson? While the name may be a mystery to anyone other than Brontë mega-fans, it doesn’t take much to discover that her story has enough shock, intrigue and passion to rival any of the family’s iconic texts.

Believed to be the older married lover – and employer – of Branwell Brontë, Robinson was ultimately blamed for the addictions and early demise of the sisters’ only brother. The story eventually inspired the 1960s hit The Graduate.

Join Dr Emma Butcher, lecturer in 19th-century literature at King’s College London, and Bella Ellis, author of The Brontë Mysteries, to explore the rumours, legacy and truth surrounding this controversial relationship.

About The Speaker

Emma Butcher

Emma’s interests lie in Romantic and Victorian literature and culture. She was awarded a PhD for The Brontës and the Military at the University of Hull. In 2017 Emma was named as one of the BBC/AHRC’s New Generation Thinkers and is regularly involved with the media having worked on programmes for the BBC as well as writing for The Guardian, BBC History Magazine, PN Review, and History Today. Emma has also worked closely with the Brontë Parsonage Museum, where she curated their 2015 exhibition, ‘The Brontës, War and Waterloo’.


About The Author

Headshot of author Bella Ellis

Bella Ellis

Bella Ellis is the Brontë inspired pen name for the award winning, Sunday Times bestselling author Rowan Coleman. A Brontë devotee for most of her life, Rowan is the author of fourteen novels including The Memory Book,
The Summer of Impossible Things and The Girl at the Window, as well as the co-author of Mirror, Mirror, the debut novel by actor and model Cara Delevingne.
Bella Ellis recently moved to Scarborough with her husband and five children.