A historic Thornton building, famous for being the birthplace of the Bronte sisters, re-opens its doors later this month, and one of its first visitors will be someone who is no stranger to history.
Last year the future of the Bronte birthplace on Market Street seemed uncertain after it was put up for auction, with no guarantee it would not be bought for use as a private house.
But it was purchased by Mark and Michelle De Luca, who own De Luca’s hair salon in the village, and in a few weeks it will open as Emily’s coffee shop. But before its official opening it will receive a visit from Sir Tony Robinson, star of Blackadder and Time Team, who is filming for a show on the Bronte sisters later this week.
He will be delving into the history of Thornton and the house where the writers came into the world.
The Rev Patrick Bronte occupied the home during his tenure at Thornton Chapel in 1815, known as the Bronte Bell Chapel.
The cafe will retain many of the grade II-listed house’s features, including the fireplace that Emily, Charlotte and Anne were born in front of. However, Mr De Luca said the building was not a museum and, although they would cultivate the building’s heritage with walls adorned with Bronte artwork by local artists, he hopes it will become a successful business in its own right.
When the building was sold last year there had been disappointment that Bradford Council could not take it on to turn it into a museum. But Mr De Luca believes that such a venture would constantly be in the shadow of Haworth – where the family moved and grew up and home of the Bronte Parsonage Museum.
He said: “We are going to work with the parsonage to try and make this a Bronte trail, but the main aim is to make a place that locals want to come and use as well as people who love the Brontes.
“We can’t be solely reliant on tourism.”
The cafe will open in late June.