He renovated the home which was suffering from damp and flooding and has turned it into a deli where visitors can look round the Bronte’s private quarters. The cafe is due to open up in May following an extensive renovation. Among other features, visitors will be able to inspect the very hearth where all three sisters were born. It also boasts the writing desk built into the structure where Patrick Haworth wrote his first sermon - about the Battle of Waterloo.
Birthplace: The drawing room still boasts the fireplace, in front of which Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell were all born
The new owners, both 29, sold their cottage in the village to buy the Bronte home. They
snapped it up as a repossession for £120,000 and then spent another £30,000 doing it up. The couple already had a track record, having converted a Grade II listed building around the corner into a hair salon. But it was cheap because the 100 year old timber windows were rotten, the roof was leaking, and the wallpaper was falling off the walls -which were riddled with rising damp. The old scullery at the rear of the property had flooded through the back door with waste from the overflowing drains. Mr de Luca, a former quantity surveyor, said: ‘It was so damp and humid. The drains were overflowing with years of dirt and debris.’‘The property has been mistreated over the years and I wanted to bring tourists back to the village,’ he said. ‘It is a very important property for England and we wanted to reclaim the history and restore the place to its former glory.’ The couple are sleeping in Patrick and Maria’s room complete with the writing desk where he wrote his first sermon – on Wellington’s victory at Waterloo.
Thornton village needs the recognition as the first stop on any pilgrimage and we hope this helps the regeneration of the village.’
Bronte Society Chairman Sally McDonald said: ‘The birthplace in Thornton is hugely important in the Bronte story. ‘In the bicentenary year of 2016 the world’s attention will turn to all places linked with Charlotte Bronte. ‘Some years ago former Bronte Society member, Barbara Whitehead, bought and tried to restore the house but sadly it proved just too big a project. ‘It is a pity the Birthplace Trust’s hopes of turning the house into a museum were pipped at the post but it wasn’t to be and it is heartening to hear the new owners are keen to sympathetically retain the history.’ Patrick Bronte wrote of his time in Thornton: ‘My happiest days were spent there.‘This is where the family was complete: father, mother and children, and where they had kind friends.’ In Haworth, he said, he felt like ‘a stranger in a strange land’.