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Raymond Adam Biswanger Slide Collection

The Brontës: 1820
Haworth, West Yorkshire

Haworth was the home of the Brontë family from 1820 onward. It is a village built on the steep sides of the Worth valley and its tributary on the eastern edge of the Pennines. The approach to the “dreary black-looking” village of Haworth via the Bridge House in the valley was reportedly extremely steep. Elizabeth Gaskell, Charlotte Brontë's biographer, reported that the street was paved with flag-stones placed end-ways, so that the horses' feet would not slip down backward but have something to cling to.

During the time of the Brontës, Haworth was a busy manufacturing village. When the Brontës settled there in 1820, there were eighteen small textile mills in the township. There were also many wool-combers and handloom weavers who worked in their homes. Inn-keeping and shop-keeping were other occupations. Several villagers also farmed as additional work, and the horses, cows, and pigs they kept contributed to the “insalubrious” state of Haworth's roads and backyards.

In the Brontë's's day the local worsted mills were worked by steam power. Charlotte Brontë describes such mills dramatically in Shirley. Most of the buildings in Haworth are of dark, sturdy millstone grit, and the older ones were roofed with heavy stone slabs. A few larger houses dating from the 17th century feature stone-mullioned windows like those imagined by Emily Brontë in Wuthering Heights.

Haworth, West Yorkshire [Top image--15 April 1983; Bottom image--6 October 1989]

Haworth, West Yorkshire [Top image--15 April 1983, Bottom three images--6 October 1989]

Graves, Haworth, West Yorkshire [1 May 1985]

Brontë country near Haworth, West Yorkshire [15 April 1983]

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