Sitting there, sipping at a cappuccino and a deliciously prepared Earl Grey tea, we reminisced about what we knew of the Brontë birthplace in modern times. As BrontëBlog we only caught the final installment of Barbara Whitehead's 'residency' there. She used to have a website about her home, where the Brontës had been born. She showed some pictures, carried out - or tried to anyway - some restoration work and even had visitors. Then came the public auction of the place. We are not ashamed to admit that we were somewhat outraged when Thornton council didn't get the place and do something public with it. And we admit to being cautious when it was announced that a coffee shop would open. A coffee shop at the birthplace!
Then pictures of the decorations and accounts of the work carried out started trickling it and it all sounded nice and, above all, respectful. Then Emily's by DeLuca Boutique opened and it looked oh so fine from a distance. Then Brontë aficionados started going there, sharing pictures and accounts and it simply sounded like the most wonderful place.
And it is. You get to sit and move around in the space (much altered through time; after all, it once was a butcher's!) where the Brontës were born and were tiny little things. They toddled around here and most of them spoke their first words here. And you are comfortably sitting there, under the same roof,
The staff and Mark De Luca himself are all really, really nice. There are Brontë details everywhere but also different touches such as a Vespa in the hallway. And it all comes together in a wonderful atmosphere. All the positive things we had heard about the place turned out to be not enough.
This is a truly great coffee shop by itself. But it's also a truly great coffee shop with a twist for any Brontë fan. After all, it's not everywhere that the Brontës enjoy a stained glass status.
Oh, and by the way. While you are there - do visit the toilet.