The foundation of the Brontë Society and the Brontë Parsonage Museum and the links with Dewsbury, through William W Yates in The Dewsbury Reporter:
The new owners dispensed with the services of the paper’s long-standing editor, Mr William W Yates, who, aged 74, was probably deemed too old. Shame on them. However, his enforced retirement allowed him to complete a book he had been writing for 20 years about Patrick Bronte entitled “Father of the Brontës”. Patrick spent only two years in Dewsbury, as curate at Dewsbury Parish Church, from 1809 to 1811, and later became Vicar of Hartshead Church. During his stay here, Patrick made a great impression on the people, especially the poor, and Mr Yates would do the same, some 60 years after him.
For Mr Yates took up his appointment with the Reporter in 1861, the same year as Patrick Brontë died.
And it was only after Mr Yates arrived here from Leicester that he discovered there was a Brontë connection with Dewsbury and district. Being an astute journalist, he realised how important it was for the paper to trace and talk to those who had known Patrick before they too would pass away.
He interviewed anyone who had known the Brontë family and he quickly realised there was a great need for a society to be formed to safeguard all he had discovered. He also saw the importance of finding somewhere to store all this history, along with the many Bronte artefacts which had been brought to his attention.
It was not long before he became instrumental in founding what is now the highly respected Brontë Society, and he arranged its first meeting in Dewsbury Town Hall. He also played an important part in founding the Brontë Museum in Haworth, where Patrick had been vicar for more than 40 years. While I was doing my own research of the Bronte Society and the part Mr Yates played in it, I was surprised to discover that the Brontë Museum very nearly started life in Dewsbury. For, when the newly formed Brontë Society was looking for somewhere to store their artefacts, the old Dewsbury Borough Council offered them Crow Nest Park. But before the offer could be accepted, Haworth Parsonage was put at their disposal, and this is where the museum still stands today. ()