Thursday, 18 August 2011

Haworth / the Brontes: August 2011

Last week I visited Haworth for the first time.

Although it was a rainy weekday, the village and the Parsonage were really quite busy and crowded - but I shouldn't complain as it has to be good that so many people are interested in the Brontes.

The cobbled, steep, hilltop village is rather lovely, but very much given over to the tourist and Bronte theme, and also spoilt I thought by every pub / eatery (there are 4 at least, within yards of each other) having far too many loud, garish signs announcing their special offers etc.

There were some attractive, quaint shop windows here and there though:

This was the window (and sign, below) for Weavers  restaurant - nicely understated! 

Down the hill there were 2 large and wonderful secondhand bookshops - Venables & Bainbridge and the pleasingly named Hatchard & Daughters:

There is also one of the largest vintage clothing shops I've ever come across - The Souk -  and I did like the Rose & Co. Apothecary - where Branwell Bronte obtained the laudanum that contributed, with alcohol, to his early death. It is the reclaimed and extensive shop fittings, perhaps more than the items for sale, that make this so special:

So ... Haworth has its charms and with some effort you can just about imagine it as it might really have felt 150 years ago (or even how it would have been now) but, for me, the overly themepark olde worlde stuff obscures and  detracts from, rather than enhances, a visit - it feels too much like a TV set. I'm sure that most visitors who choose to go somewhere like Haworth feel the same ... such a shame that this happens so often.

There will be a post about the actual Bronte Parsonage and Museum next - which was excellent!

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