birthplace of the Brontës
Home and birthplace to what became one of the worlds most famous families - literary geniuses - The Brontë's. Here the family was complete and unite for 6 years, and Charlotte (1816), Patrick Branwell (1817), Emily (1818) and Anne (1820) were all born here in the former dining room (ground floor windows to the right of the entrance) (Note: Photo is a collage of what remains and gives the impression of what the original building would of looked like at the time of The Brontë Family. No original photo, to date, exists)
The fireplace in the former Drawing Room (ground floor windows to the left of the entrance). This fireplace is not original to the time of The Brontë's, although is of the period and as believed to be installed by author Barbara Whitehead, the proprietor at the time the birthplace was a small museum (1996-2006)
The floor to ceiling wardrobe in the former Children's Bedroom, and has been said to be original to the time of The Brontë's. You can just imagine the bed linen being stored here, and used frequently by the servants and nursemaids Sarah and Nancy Garrs. Their room and stair access to the ground floor former scullery via an independent stone staircase is just through the door to the right of the photo.
The writing desk to the former Parents Bedroom (first floor windows to the right of the entrance). Photos of my young children thrown in for good measure! You can just imagine the Rev. Patrick Brontë writing a sermon or two here whilst taking in the views of the Thornton/Clayton valley from the large sash windows!
What is now the house bathroom offers a number of luxuries not even The Brontë's had access too! The same, crackle-glazed ceramic tiles feature as in the former Scullery, together with a decorative timber wall panelling detail. This is located in an area of the property which is an extension to what was a simple, rectangular type symmetrical home, built around or before 1898 - the time when the extension to the front of the property was constructed.
The stone staircase leading from the former Scullery to the former Servants and Nursemaids Bedroom, with independent access to the former Children's Bedroom. No wonder these stairs are showing so much wear with four children under 5 in The Brontë's final year in Thornton - you can still just about hear the constant steps of Sarah and Nancy up and down these stairs!
The view from the smallest window, in the smallest room of the house, the former Servants and Nursemaids Bedroom. I'm sure as Sarah and Nancy would of laid down to rest as dawn came in, they would of been blessed with a very different view to what we now see - although 'Coffin End' is a beautiful, landmark property in Thornton.
The former Drawing Room (ground floor windows to the left of the entrance) now features a 'Wuthering Heights' book page wall and period lighting (bakelite bulb holders and filament light bulbs) - whilst this would be been something The Brontë's would have loved! This sets the perfect ambiance, and for many, the favourite room in the house to sit back and just day dream - it's amazing what a few hours and a couple of first edition books can do!
Feature stonework header and corbel detail to now an internal doorway from the former Dining Room to what we are sure is an extension to the property to the far right. Judging by the thickness of the wall and this stonework detailing, this was once the external wall and door - remember no properties either side of the property existed until 1830-40. In essence, this property stood completely alone; hard to visualise now as it stands central in a built up village.
View of what is now the internal doorway from the former Dining Room to what we are sure is an extension to the property to the far right. As the ironwork suggests, a heavy door would of once stood in this opening, which would of been to shield them from the external elements! This doorway is opposite the original fireplace, and would of been an exit point from the right of the building.
An elevation of the building that gets overshadowed by the front - this is the external elevations of the former Scullery (ground floor) and the former Servants and Nursemaids Bedroom (first floor). It would be a good assumption that the land levels to this area have changed as properties to the sides and rear have been constructed in years past, between 1830-1840 - you can picture the wilderness Sarah and Nancy Garrs would of been exposed to in the winter months to the north facing section of the building, their workplace!
Featured within the former Children's Bedroom is the original timber floor. This has been exposed, repaired, and painted in a classical Old White shade. It's likely in the time of The Brontë's, that either a carpet or large rug would of featured in this room, with an element of the timber floor being exposed to the perimeter of the room. I'm sure the 'pitta-patta' of tiny feet from six young children would of sounded more like a stampede - it certainly does with my two young girls! Never mind if walls could talk, 'if floors could talk' - I'm sure their story would be something else!
The latest addition to The Brontë Birthplace is a commemorative stone - set in the stonework to the extension to the front of the building built in 1898, to the right of the main entrance - as part of 'The Brontë Stones' project headed by Dr Michael Stewart and the Bradford Literature Festival. Carved within the stonework will be a commissioned passage by a leading female author in today's literary world, but exact details are still to be confirmed - TOP SECRET - watch this space!
To the left of the main entrance is a cast iron plaque noting the property as the birthplace of The Brontë's - the worlds most famous literary family. This is now a common photo opportunity, and Is shot through a camera lens on a daily basis with people visiting - the now very famous plaque - from all over the world! We're unsure as to who privately commissioned / made this plaque, nor the exact date it was fixed to the building, however looking at old images that circulate of the property, this plaque looks to feature on the building in the 1950/60's. Any information on the history of this plaque would be greatly appreciated. We'd love an English Heritage Blue Plaque though!
Now, to the right of the main entrance stands a significant extension to both front and far right of the property, constructed around 1898. We assume the construction to the far right was an infill to what would of been a ginnel / walkway up the side of the birthplace created following construction of the terrace properties now connected to the right, built around the 1840's - when demand for homes in the village was at a high with the textile industry gaining momentum. This extension to the property - significantly changing its external aesthetics - was pursued by a butcher family who began trading from what became No.72 (the section to the right of the main entrance but not including) for some years. The section of the property to the left and including the main entrance, No.74 remained as residential, and was a family home to many. Now the property is combined once again - unsure of the date but assume around the 1960/70's when the butchers shop closed - as No.72-74 Market Street.
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