The heritage arts and community centre in Thornton, the birthplace of the Brontes, has named three bats discovered in its rafters – Charlotte, Emily and Anne. The Centre is a collection of 19th century grade II workers’ cottages, which are now providing a unique home for the bats.
When the works started on the restoration of the roof (helped by National Heritage Lottery 2020 funding) the team discovered that three Pipistrelle bats were frequent visitors. Local ecologists were consulted, in order to safeguard the bats, and they suggested that a bat box be installed.
“The village of Thornton is famous for being the birthplace of the Brontës,” explains the Centre’s director Yvonne Carmichael. “South Square does a lot of work around the family, so it was only right that we named our bats after the three remarkable sisters.
“A Bat Box is an artificial roost designed to encourage bats into areas where there are few roosting sites,” says Yvonne. “You can purchase them from garden centres and other places, but we’re an arts centre – it was never going to be ‘just a box’.”
Chloe Moreton, a Heritage Assistant at the centre, set to work designing a bat box with a difference. The Brontë Bat Box is a replica of the house in which the original Brontes were born, and now provides a home that Charlotte, Emily, and Anne can call their own. When the scaffolding was taken down, Chlore was there to see the bat box put into place.
“I’m really proud to be a little part of the history of this amazing Centre,” says Chloe, whose family hail from the village. “It does great work for its local community and has undertaken some successful outreach through lockdown supporting the village’s elderly and vulnerable.”
The garden at the Centre will be the perfect place from which to view the Bronte Bat Box.
“The centre has such a rich and wonderful heritage,” Yvonne continues. “It supports artists from around the UK with its exhibitions, and it continues to follow in its ethos of being Community-led but accessible to all. We have some great plans for the future and are pleased that The Brontë Bats will be a part of it.”
South Square Centre is due to reopen to the public on June 4th 2021, with social distance exhibitions.
It is continuing projects throughout its renovation and lockdown restrictions. There’s a rolling programme of garden events from May, the reopening of the café, and the return of the bar.