CHARLOTTE Bronte’s birthday is being celebrated today with a pop art community project in the village where she was born.

The Bronte Zines - quaint booklets packed with facts and puzzles about the literary sisters’ lives and work - have been created by local artist Rosie McAndrew and are being distributed in Thornton, where the world-famous family lived before Haworth.

The project is part of a cultural programme promoting Thornton as the Brontes’ birthplace. In March 2020 South Square Centre in the village received National Lottery Heritage funding for a capital refurbishment and a three-year programme of activities highlighting local industrial heritage, the Bronte birthplace and South Square’s history as a grassroots arts centre.

Rosie worked with the centre on creating the Bronte Zines, initially released in the first lockdown. Now, to celebrate Charlotte Bronte’s 205th birthday today, they are re-launched.

“We originally created them in the first lockdown of March 2020; we distributed them around the village to care homes and residential living as a way to keep connected with our community,” said the centre’s programme manager Alice Withers. “We have re-launched them this month to celebrate Charlotte’s birthday and the gradual re-opening of the centre to the public.”

Added Rosie: “A Zine is basically a publication of original or appropriated texts and images. They usually have a very small circulation and are works with minority interest - obviously the Brontes have a world-wide interest so these were a delight to create. The project combined my love of pop culture and illustration with heritage and education - knowing what we know about Charlotte we’re pretty sure she’d approve!”

The Zines will also be available at the centre when it re-opens with exhibitions on June 4. Its vegetarian cafe, Plenty, is now open as a takeaway and its bar, The Watchmaker, will open from May 19.

“We’ve continued to work through the lockdowns and are proud to have really engaged with the community on our doorstep,” said Alice. “But we’re really excited to fling the doors open and welcome new visitors to our beautiful heritage building.”

Charlotte Bronte was born in Thornton on April 21, 1816 and she moved with the family to Haworth in 1820. Her novel Jane Eyre was published under the pen name Currer Bell in 1847.

South Square is based in 19th century workers cottages, renovated as a community arts centre in 1982. It houses studio spaces for artists, a gallery, community spaces, archive, fine art framers, bar and cafe.