Brontë enthusiasts are in a race against time to raise more than £350,000 to buy the birthplace of the famous literary sisters.
Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë, along with their brother Branwell, were all born in the house at 72-74 Market Street in Thornton, on the outskirts of Bradford, between April 1816 and January 1820.
The Grade II*-listed property later became a butcher’s shop, a museum and a café named Emily’s. It now stands empty and has been put up for private sale.
Concerns that it will end up as a private home with no public access have prompted a campaign group called Save the Brontë Birthplace to set up a crowdfunding appeal.
Members want the stone-built terraced house to be turned into a cultural and educational centre, with a community café and holiday accommodation.
Ann Dinsdale, principal curator at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth, said the property played “a significant part” in the family’s story.
She added: “The house is currently inaccessible to admirers of the Brontës and the general public alike.
“It feels important that it should be preserved and play a part in celebrating the legacy of the extraordinary Brontë family.
“The Brontë Society, who run the Brontë Parsonage Museum, fully support this project to save the Brontë Birthplace for the community.”
The Brontë sisters’ parents, the Reverend Patrick Brontë and his wife, Maria, moved to the property in 1815, when he was appointed curate of the neighbouring chapel.
Five years later the family moved seven miles to Haworth, with which they are more closely associated, when Patrick was made curate of St Michael and All Angels’ Church.
A community benefit society, Brontë Birthplace Limited, has been set up to spearhead the purchase of the building in Thornton, and is appealing to Brontë aficionados around the world to contribute to the project.
It has so far raised almost £20,000 – and has 33 days remaining to hit its target of £355,000.
If successful the group intends to buy and refurbish the building, and hold a grand re-opening to tie-in with the Bradford City of Culture celebrations in 2025.