Towns Fund Secures a New Roof for the Old School Room

Article dated Tuesday Jul 11, 2023 at 04:04 PM

Work has finished on a £150,000 project to restore and repair the roof of one of Haworth’s most important historic buildings.

The renovation of the roof of the 191-year-old building on Church Street took three months to complete and was funded by a £130,000 grant from Keighley Towns Fund, with additional funding from the Bernard Sunley Foundation and Pilgrim Trust.

The original 1832 roof, has now been sensitively restored and properly insulated at the venue, which is used by community groups to host local events.

Averil Kenyon, Chair of The Bronte Spirit charity, which manages and maintains the building, said: “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, said: “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 said: “We are pleased to have been able to support the restoration of this historic building, which is still very well-used and well-loved to this day. The variety of projects supported by the Towns Fund is incredible and each one contributes to our area in a uniquely positive way.”

The grade II listed Old School Room was built by Patrick Bronte in 1832 and was extended in 1850 and 1871. It originally housed a school where Reverend Bronte’s famous literary children Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell all worked as teachers and Charlottes wedding reception was held there in 1854.

The Old School Room was replaced as a school in 1903, but continued to function as a community building, being used for a variety of purposes, including a gymnasium, a library, a youth hostel and even an army billet during the Second World War.

About the Towns Fund

The Towns Fund is a Government-funded support programme to boost the economies of towns across the UK. The programme is part of the Government’s Levelling Up plan. Decisions on grants are made by Towns Fund Boards for each town, which are made up of private sector representatives with support from Bradford Council.

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