The saga of the Bronte birthplace in Bradford looks to be over – at least for the time being.
The double-fronted house at 72/74 Market Street, Thornton, in which Anne, Branwell, Charlotte and Emily Bronte were born and raised between 1815 and 1820 before the family moved to Haworth, has been sold to a private buyer for £120,000.
The Bronte Birthplace Trust, which met last night, had wanted to acquire the house and convert it into a Bronte museum, a tourist attraction as it used to be, to help regenerate the village.
But, as revealed in the Telegraph & Argus earlier this week, its plan took a body blow after Bradford Council’s leadership declined to purchase the terraced house on behalf of the trust.
Councillor Andrew Thornton, who holds the portfolio for environment, sport and sustainability, said that at a time of Government cuts the Council was not satisfied this was a justifiable use of public money.
The trust’s chairman Steve Stanworth said of the sale of the property: “This has come as a shock, hot on the heels of the news Bradford Council felt unable to help us to save the property for the community and Bronte lovers worldwide.
“We are extremely disappointed and disgusted with the Council’s attitude. The trust feels we need to continue in our quest to buy the property and appeal to Bronte lovers everywhere to help us raise funds.
“We need money to prepare a business case for the future purchase. It was felt keenly by the group that we need to remain focussed and although the house is now sold we need to be in a stronger position should it appear on the market again.”
The sale was completed by Beverley Smith for Whitneys estate agents in Clayton.
Mrs Smith, a Thornton resident herself, said: “Because this property was a repossession we have got to get as much for it as possible. Contracts have been exchanged and keys handed over.
“It’s been bought by a couple, not a company. I am sure they will be sympathetic to the Bronte sisters because of conversations I had with them.”