Introducing Lister’s secret diary code
In her 24 volumes of preserved diaries, Anne Lister (1791-1840) of Shibden Hall, Halifax located in West Yorkshire sometimes used a secret coded alphabet when she wanted to express her most private thoughts. She developed this coded system in her early teens together with her school friend Eliza Raine whom she met at the Manor boarding school in York. They used this code system in letters to each other. The only known persons in Lister’s life who could understand the secret code was Eliza Raine and later lover and friend, Mariana Lawton (née Belcombe). Most likely, neither Raine or Lawton knew that Lister used this code in her diaries. Lawton probably had an own key of the code to solve Lister’s crypt hand in her sent letters.
Cracking of the Code
Lister didn’t leave any keys or hints to the secret alphabet, or the diary code made by her secret “crypt hand”. However, after publishing several drafts about Anne Lister in the local Halifax newspaper, John Lister (d. 1933) became very intrigued by the passages he couldn’t interpret. He contacted a friend and together they did much hard work trying to solve the code and finally did so. His friend was very shocked over the content and seriously tried to convince John Lister to burn all the 26 volumes! He didn’t take this advice but instead hid the volumes behind the panels at Shibden Hall.
The letters and numbers of the code
And a few other signs
ch= 🔻( a triangle upside down, not red or filled)
and = x
To be cont.,