The birthplace of the Brontë sisters could soon be opening to the public

The Brontë family home in Yorkshire could be converted into a cultural centre and holiday lets

Amy Houghton
Written by
Amy Houghton
Contributing writer
Bronte birthplace, Thornton Village
Photograph: David Spencer / Wikimedia Commons

Brontë super-fans everywhere, here’s something you can get behind. A campaign to open up the birthplace of Charlotte, Emily and Anne to the public was launched last year. And now, after raising over £25,000, it has now submitted a formal planning application to Bradford Council.

The house sits on Market Street in Thornton, West Yorkshire, and has long been overlooked as a cultural heritage landmark. The literary sisters are mostly associated with another Yorkshire village, Haworth, where they lived from 1820. But their parents moved to this terraced house in 1815 with the eldest siblings Maria and Elizabeth before the family grew with the births of Charlotte, Branwell, Emily and Anne (yes, there were more than three Brontës). 

Campaigners hope that the Grade II-listed building will become a cultural centre in the same way that the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth is. The house has gone through a number of iterations, once run as a small museum and most recently operating as a café called Emily’s. 

If the application is approved, the plan is to create space for workshops, events and visits by schools and literary groups. The bedrooms will also be restored to what they would have looked like during the Brontë family’s tenancy. More excitingly, they might be converted into holiday lets so you can sleep under the very same roof as the minds that brought us ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Jane Eyre’ . 

In the application, the campaign group said: ‘Our vision is that the Brontë Birthplace has the potential to put Thornton more prominently onto the tourist map.

‘For visitors and local people it will add another dimension to the story of the Brontë family in the Bradford district. 

A decision on the application is expected to be reached next month.

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