Haworth, home of the Brontes
Haworth, the hillside hamlet where the Brontes spent their lives, has rabidly tenuous links to the literary sisters coming out of its freezing, rain-sodden ears.
The Bronte Weaving Shed, for instance, promotes itself as very much the kind of weaving shed the Bronte sisters would have been into, had they been into weaving sheds – so much so, that it is perfectly acceptable to suggest it is, indeed, the Brontes’ own weaving shed. Having set foot within the establishment in question, we would beg to differ.
Allow us to explain why.
The Bronte Weaving Shed is, undoubtedly, a shop. Anyone taking a contrary position would be very hard-pressed to make a case. The signs of being a shop are everywhere – the shelves displaying items for sale, the blatant pricing information on the goods, the tills in front of people pressing them and receiving money in exchange for goods. A distant cousin of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill (which lives in exile in England), it sells goods designed to keep you warm when it’s a bit chilly out. However, it has absolutely nothing to do with Emily, Anne or Charlotte Bronte, so don’t even ask.
No doubt the sisters wore clothes – there is documentary evidence that they did so – but there is little chance that they produced them in the Bronte Weaving Shed. Especially since it appears to date from the late 1980s, some 150 years after all three dropped their final stitch.
If you do pop in, you have the opportunity to pick up something pricey made out of ‘The famous Bronte tweed’. The word ‘famous’ must be fraud under anybody’s definition.
You can pick ‘The famous Bronte Tweed’ off the shelf next to the Yard of Shortbread, which meets all your metre-long biscuit needs.
And don’t think that once you step out of the shop to breathe God’s sweet air, you have got away from the Brontemania. When visiting Haworth you can stay in the Bronte Caravan Park, presumably using the Bronte sinks and toilets and experiencing Bronte regrets you didn’t do something else less Bronte. For lunch you can eat in – we kid you not – the Bronte Balti House.
If just visiting for the day, you can park your car in the Bronte Village Car Park, where the sisters no doubt left their Bronte cars. From their surviving letters and diaries Emily is known to have driven a Bronte Mondeo. Anne was known to have environmental concerns and owned a hybrid-fuel Toyota Prius. Charlotte couldn’t give a toss and always drove a dirty Bronte bus running on leaded petrol.