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T S Eliot estate donates Cats royalties to help save Brontë Parsonage Museum

The Eliot estate has made a donation to the museum, which is in dire financial straits due to the pandemic

Cats cast members dressed as cats
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

The estate of poet TS Eliot has donated 20,000 pounds earned from royalties from the musical Cats to help the Brontë Parsonage Museum stay afloat amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The museum, which recently reopened after being closed since March, honors the Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, and sits on their family home site in West Yorkshire. It usually welcomes 70,000 visitors per year, but is struggling to stay afloat.

According to published reports, the donation was made without fanfare on the museum's crowdfunded donation site. The Brontë Society, which runs the museum, was then informed that the donation was made possible by the success of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats, for which Eliot receives a script-writing credit, despite having been deceased for many years when the show came out. The show itself is based on Eliot's collection Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

"The Eliot estate are very fortunate to have access to funds because of the success of Cats and it seems to me crucial we help other literary bodies should they run into trouble," Eliot estate trustee Clare Reihill told the BBC.