Lowood Institute

Cowan Bridge School drawing

Charlotte Brontë and her sisters attended Cowan Bridge School in Lancashire, England. Cowan Bridge School—now renamed Brontë School House—offered education for clergymen’s daughters for a fraction of the cost of “comparable schools”(Brontë Sisters). The description of the school provided in chapter 5 of Jane Eyre, “The garden was a wide inclosure, surrounded with walls so high as to exclude every glimpse of prospect; a covered verandah ran down one side, and broad walks bordered a middle space divided into scores of little beds: these beds were assigned as gardens for the pupils to cultivate, and each bed had an owner” (Brontë) along with the teachers referenced, makes it clear that Lowood Institute is based off the school the Brontë sisters attended (The Reader’s Guide). Jane often mentioned the rainy weather and in 1824, when the Brontë sisters began attending the Cowan Bridge School, records show that it was a particularly wet year in the UK (Website of Pascal). She also mentioned that the clothes they wore were not enough to keep them warm in the winter weather at the beginning of chapter 7. The standard uniform for students at the Cowan Bridge School in the winter was “a stuff [woollen] purple dress with purple pelisse [cloak] and black woollen stockings and if going outside pattens [overshoes] and a plain straw cottage bonnet” (Brontë Sisters). The majority of students were not well read when they arrived at the school, in fact they were even remarked as “vile readers”, verbiage that falls in line with the demeanor portrayed by the superiors at Lowood Institute (Brontë Sisters). The experience with Helen, Jane’s friend at Lowood, is remarkably similar to Charlotte’s sister Maria’s experience at Cowan (Maria Brontë). Maria died of Tuberculosis at age 11 after being exposed at school, their sister Elizabeth died just over a month later of the same condition.  




Works Cited 

“Bronte Sisters and the Bronte School House.” Bronte School House, https://www.bronteschoolhouse.com/bronte-sisters. 

Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Vol. 1, Smith, Elder, and Co., 1847. 

“Maria Brontë – Tragic and Genius Sister.” Anne Brontë, 20 Mar. 2017, https://www.annebronte.org/2017/03/20/maria-bronte-tragic-and-genius-sis.... 

“The Reader's Guide to Charlotte Bronte's ‘Jane Eyre.’” Lowood School: Location and Characters, https://jane-eyre.guidesite.co.uk/lowood-school. 

“Website of Pascal Bonenfant.” British Weather from 1700 to 1849, https://www.pascalbonenfant.com/18c/geography/weather.html. 



Latitude: 54.182616000000
Longitude: -2.559781900000