After three months of diligent effort, a significant renovation project has concluded, restoring and repairing the roof of one of Haworth’s most cherished historic structures. The building, located on Church Street, has stood for an impressive 191 years, and the completion of this project marks a momentous milestone in its preservation.

The restoration endeavour, valued at £150,000, was made possible by a generous £130,000 grant from Keighley Towns Fund, with supplementary funding provided by the Bernard Sunley Foundation and Pilgrim Trust.

Dating back to 1832, the building’s original roof had suffered from wear and tear over the years, leading to occasional leaks. However, thanks to the recent restoration efforts, the roof has been meticulously revived and properly insulated. The venue, frequently used by community groups to host local events, now boasts enhanced thermal efficiency, thereby improving both its comfort and sustainability.

Averil Kenyon, Chair of The Bronte Spirit charity, responsible for the management and maintenance of the building, expressed her satisfaction with the outcome, stating, “The stone slates had been worn and damaged over the years, and the roof sometimes leaked.

Work to insulate it will not only improve the warmth of the building but also its sustainability. The building is Grade Two listed, so it was important that all the work kept the integrity of the building while ensuring it’s in the best condition to continue as a thriving village hall at the heart of the community.”

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning, and Transport, emphasised the significance of the Old School Room, remarking, “The Old School Room is a very important building, not just for Haworth, but also for the nation. It’s a crucial part of the district’s literary heritage, as well as a community hub, and I am delighted that money from the Keighley Towns Fund has been able to secure and protect the fabric of the building well into the future.”

Chair of Keighley Towns Fund, Ian Hayfield, expressed his satisfaction in supporting the restoration of this historic edifice, which remains a cherished and well-utilised structure. He highlighted the diverse array of projects assisted by the Towns Fund, acknowledging their unique and positive contributions to the local area.

The Old School Room, classified as a grade II listed building, was originally constructed by Patrick Bronte in 1832. Subsequent extensions were completed in 1850 and 1871. Throughout its history, the edifice served as a school where the renowned Bronte siblings, Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Branwell, all worked as teachers. Additionally, Charlotte’s wedding reception took place within its walls in 1854.

Although the Old School Room ceased functioning as a school in 1903, it continued to serve as a vital community space, accommodating various activities such as a gymnasium, a library, a youth hostel, and even an army billet during the Second World War. Its rich heritage and versatility have endeared it to locals and visitors alike, solidifying its place as a treasured part of Haworth’s cultural tapestry.

With the completion of the roof restoration project, the Old School Room stands poised to embrace a bright future, continuing its role as a cherished village hall and cultural haven for the community.