The dream of many a literary aficionado has just come true as the childhood home of the Brontë sisters, located in the village of Thornton in West Yorkshire, is now reported to be up for sale. Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë were once born in the dining room of this house on 72-74 Market Street and the Brontë family lived here between the years of 1815 to 1820.
The house, which was originally built in 1802, has gone through many different incarnations over the years, having served as apartments and now enjoying a fresh new life in a cafe called, appropriately enough, Emily’s. Both Charlotte and Emily Brontë would probably be amused to learn that their former birth home is now a thriving and popular local cafe and coffee shop. As Charlotte penned in Jane Eyre, the heroine of the novel rather enjoyed her daily cup of coffee accompanied by bread.
“Soon after five p.m. we had another meal, consisting of a small mug of coffee. I devoured my bread and drank my coffee with relish.”
Bread and coffee also featured in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights when Heathcliff was urged to drink the basin of coffee which had been placed before him, despite his inclination to ignore it by issuing a menacing smile instead.
The Brontë family home is currently owned by Mark De Luca, 33, and wife Michelle, 32. According to The Telegraph, the couple had been busy searching for the perfect place to start a cafe and were instantly smitten with the terraced brick cottage that they found neatly tucked away in Thornton.
“We bought it as a repossession three years ago. The house had been used as a buy-to-let, split up into bedsits. It was owned by a London property developer who had fallen into difficult times.”
The fact that their planned cafe also happened to be the former birthplace of the Brontë sisters added extra intrigue.
“The Brontë element was an added bonus.”
Despite the fact that De Luca wasn’t particularly knowledgeable when it came to the history and works of Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Brontë, he made it his goal to undertake a thorough research of the Brontë family which included consulting Haworth’s Brontë Museum as well as the former owner of the Thornton house.
— TOWN&COUNTRY (@TandCmag) September 21, 2017
After purchasing the former Brontë home for £120,000, Mark and Michelle spent an additional £70,000 fixing it up so that they could use it both as a home and a working cafe.
“We stripped the property back to a shell and redid it: new flooring, damp works, roof repairs, new heating throughout, extensive repairs to the timber sash windows, new bathroom suite and a full internal decoration. We created it from nothing, really.”
Curbed reports that despite the intense work and transformation of the house into a cafe, it still retains many of its original features including a few of the fireplaces, the staircase made of timber, and a stone stab floor outside of the drawing room.
Mark De Luca has spoken of the special times the Brontë sisters shared together in their home in Thornton and described how the family fell into disarray once they moved to Haworth, with their mother Maria dying one year later.
“The Brontë family started to break down when they moved to Haworth. Patrick said that his happiest days were spent at Thornton and in Haworth he was a stranger in a strange land.”
De Luca is currently looking to sell the Brontë family home in West Yorkshire for £250,000. Profits from the cafe Emily’s are in the region of £49,000 each year with the cafe running four days of the week. There is a two-bedroom residential attachment to the cafe which serves as the prospective buyer’s home.
Those who are interested in purchasing the former home of the Brontë sisters in Thornton can find more information and photographs online at De Luca Boutique.
[Featured Image by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]