Bid to buy Brontës’ birthplace launched

A campaign has been launched to buy the birthplace of the Brontës and restore it to its former glory.

The house in Market Street in the village of Thornton, Bradford, was the birthplace of Charlotte, Emily, Anne and their brother Branwell before the family moved to Haworth.

Once run as a museum, the house is now unoccupied and thought to have suffered from flooding – but villagers are keen to see its place in the lives of the famous literary family secured for future generations.

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Thornton and Allerton councillor, Valerie Binney, who is among those spearheading the campaign, said: “It’s our heritage. Patrick Brontë and his wife lived in that house – he was the vicar of Thornton. We think if we can bring it back to how it was it will regenerate Market Street. If we could get someone to back us and buy it we could then find someone to be the curator and maybe live there – you could get someone who is really interested in the Brontës.”

In the late 1990s the house was bought and restored by the novelist Barbara Whitehead who opened it up as a museum before having to sell the property in 2007.

Councillor Binney said: “When Barbara Whitehead had it we had volunteer guides and opened it up two or three times a week and we had lots of tourists coming to see the Brontës’ birthplace. We want to bring it back to how it was because it is very good for the village.

“I would say it would not cost more than £150,000 to buy. It’s not a fortune by today’s standards.”

The newly-formed Brontë Birthplace Trust (2012) hopes to attract enough funding to buy the property.

Christine Went, heritage and conservation officer for the Brontë Society, said: “We are very much in support of any viable attempt to buy and restore the building.

“As a charity, we cannot involve ourselves with other charities other than moral support but we certainly wish the group well.”