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Haworth, a small village not far from Bradford in West Yorkshire. Situated above the Worth Valley amid the bleak Pennine moors, Haworth is internationally famous for its connection with the Bronte sisters, who were born in Thornton (near Bradford), but wh

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      27.03.2001 01:27
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      I wonder just how many of us reside in or near to, areas of outstanding natural beauty or close to some locality where noteworthy historical events have taken place without giving it much thought. I have to confess that I place myself into both of these categories due to living within an hour of the beautiful Lake District and fifteen miles away from where the worlds most famous literary family lived between 1820 and 1861. Haworth, a small hillside village situated above the Worth Valley not far away from Bradford, West Yorkshire has become internationally famous for it’s connection with the Bronte sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne. There are several routes into the village but I usually travel into it from the west turning right into an unclassified road off the main A.6068 Colne to Keighley road at Laneshawbridge where a tourist information sign directs you the Bronte Parsonage Museum. Travelling along this route gives you the impression that the village is further away than it is due the gradients and untouched bleak Pennine moors which are quite often shrouded in mist. The areas of Keighley Moor and The Forrest of Trawden straddle the route. You know that you are getting close to the village when you the see the Wuthering Heights public House on your left located about a mile and a half away from the village and that is when you probably feel the eager anticipation if it is your first visit. As you arrive on the outskirts of the village you will notice there are several pay and display car parks which tend to get quite full during the summer months as literally thousands of tourists from all parts of the globe descend upon the area. As you walk along aptly named West Street towards the centre of the village the road quickly changes from tarmacadum to that of cobbled stone and you begin to approach the village that is steeped in history and nostalgia. On both sides of the str
      eet are small terraced houses and cottages occupied by the local residents who witness the daily passage of cosmopolitan tourists. On your right you will see the AA rated ‘Weavers’ restaurant and ‘Aitches ‘bed and breakfast accommodation that are the first of many such establishments in the village. As you enter the village you will notice ‘The White Lion’ and ‘The Kings Arms’ public houses directly opposite each other with the Tourist Information Centre and Haworth Post Office a short distance away. This is the central part of the village that is surrounded by small speciality shops and friendly cafes and tea-rooms with ‘Rose & Co Apothecary’, ‘The Black Bull’ public house and St Michael and All Angels Parish Church completing the small compact meeting place for visitors. Walking along Church Street with Kings Arms on your right and ‘Architects Candles’ to your left will lead you towards the ‘Bronte Parsonage Museum’ which was built in 1778 and was the lifelong home of the Bronte family between 1820 and 1861. Before arriving at the museum you will pass the side of the parish church on the left and St Michael’s and All Angels school on the right where Charlotte Bronte once taught. Although the sisters Charlotte, Anne and Emily were born in Thornton near Bradford the museum was the family home and the surrounding moorland setting had a profound influence on the writings of the family. Charlotte’s novel ‘Jayne Eyre’ (1847) Emily’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ (1847) and Anne’s ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) were written in this house all those years ago and you can almost imagine the sisters scribbling away by lamplight in the bleak parsonage to produce these classic novels. In 1928 the parsonage opened as a museum that is now owned and maintained by th
      e Bronte Society. It contains some of the furniture that belonged to the Bronte family as it was during those days along with the world famous little books and writing desks belonging to Charlotte, Emily and Anne. In fact the museum also contained some of the costumes from Cliff Richard’s musical ‘Heathcliffe’ which were kindly loaned to the Bronte Society by Sir Cliff himself. This part of the exhibition is due to close on the 27th March 2001. At the rear is a small shop that usually opens at the same time as the museum and offers souvenirs and memorabilia to members of the public. As you leave the parsonage you will gaze across the graveyard at the rear of the parish church which I can only describe as the type you would see in some horror movie with scores of large carved headstones and stone crypts a predominant feature. Above, in the bare trees were numerous crows staring down from within their nests as if guarding some dark mysterious secret in the earth below. The large blue clock face with long golden fingers in the church tower slowly revolving with the passage of time. Entry into the church is by a side door and is probably like many churches of this era with the distinctive musty aroma, stained glass windows and the Stations of the Cross. All the Bronte family, however, with exception of Anne are buried in a family vault beneath a stone pillar to the right of the alter. Anne died of tuberculosis at the age twenty nine and was buried in St Mary’s churchyard at Scarborough where she had gone in hope of a sea cure In fact I find it quite extraordinary that the three sisters out of a total of six children were born within four years of each other between 1816 and 1820 and died between a similar period of time at very early ages between 1848 and 1855. Walking back along the side of the church and down the steps at the front will return you to the
      meeting place where once again you will see the ‘Apothecary and Black Bull ‘ where the brother Branwell Bronte drank and doped himself to death. To the left of the ‘Apothecary’ stunning views of the surrounding Worth Valley can be seen with Hawarth Central Park in the foreground. The narrow cobbled street on your journey down through the village is also lined on both sides with shops offering antiques, toys, jewellery with more cafes, tea-rooms and private dwellings interspersed between them. Names such as ‘The Souk’ uncommon originals and antiques, The Carousel coffee shop, The Land of Gondal - fancy goods and The Bronte Society. Howarth Tea-rooms, Villette coffee shop, Venables and Bainbridge – books and bricabrac, The ‘Stirrup’ restaurant, The Cobbled Way tea-room and ‘Bankhouse treasures’ – items of cheap jewellery. The smallest shop in Haworth ‘Mr Crooks’ for souvenirs, Jack Be Nimble – fancy goods and a private dwelling with an old fashioned spinning wheel and daffodils on a shelf near the window. ‘Memories’- fancy goods, The Copper Kettle Tea-room, The Chocolate Box for confectionery, ‘Buckle and Hide’ – for leather goods and ‘Ye Shoppe of Haworth’ – an emporium of delights. You may feel thirsty at this point so why not pop into the Fleece public house where Timothy Taylor’s beers can be consumed. If the weather is particularly kind take your drinks outside and listen to the sounds of Haworth Brass Band who’s headquarters are located immediately next door. At this point the buildings along the route become old and new private dwellings some of which have become bed and breakfast accommodation ‘Ye Sleeping House’, ‘Bronte Cottage’ and The Old Registry are just some and I did see a sign in the window of Bronte Cotta
      ge quoting £12.50 for bed and breakfast accommodation although I would imagine that the price would increase during the summer months. Opposite these houses was ‘Penny Lane’ offering basketry, cane, crafts and dried flowers although at first I thought that there may have been a ‘Beatles’ connection. At the bottom of the hill on your right is ‘Haworth Old Hall Inn’ offering Jennings fine ales and bed and breakfast accommodation. Opposite is the entrance to Haworth Central Park where you can sit in tranquillity and enjoy more views of the surrounding Worth Valley and where many public footpaths lead out of the village giving much scope for rambling. Each and every time I visit this village I become mesmerised and captivated with all the history that simply oozes from it. Other attractions in and around the village of Haworth include: The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, an authentic preserved steam railway that has been used as a setting for numerous period films including ‘The Railway Children’ ‘Yanks’ and ‘The Wall’. Bradford are Leeds are the nearest cities where further afield is the historic city of York and the spa towns of Harrogate and Ilkley in the Yorkshire Dales. Routes into the village: A.692. Halifax to Keighley. A.650. Bradford to Keighley. A.6068. Colne to Keighley. A.603. Hebden Bridge to Keighley. The Bronte Parsonage Museum is open every day of the year except 24th to 27th December, 1st January, and 8th January to 2nd February. Opening times: 10.00.hrs – 17.30.hrs – April to September. 11.00.hrs – 17.00.hrs – October – March. Admission: £4.80 – Adults £3.50 – Senior Citizens and Students. £1.50 – Children 5-16 yrs. Free
      – Children under 5yrs £10.50 – Family Ticket £1.00 – School groups 16 years and under £1.90 – School groups 17 –18 years. Advanced notification is requested for group bookings and visitors with special needs are catered for with Braille copies of leaflets available. Www.haworth.yorks.com/haworth.html I hope that this information will be useful for anyone who may wish to visit this part of the United Kingdom and in particular the village of Haworth. Many thanks, Peter2670

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