A key part of the Brontes’ family legacy in Haworth remains seriously at risk, according to the group working to try and save it.

The warning comes from John Collinson, of Bronte Spirit, which has taken on the demanding job of raising cash to renovate the rundown Grade II-listed Old School Room in Church Street.

The property was built by Patrick Bronte in 1832 and was extended in 1850 and 1871. The building housed a school where Mr Bronte’s children – Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell – worked as teachers.

Bronte Spirit received £15,000 from English Heritage last year to fund replacement windows. But Mr Collinson said the building’s roof was in an extremely poor condition, adding the full restoration project could cost about £500,000.

“The building is seriously at risk because the roof is on its last legs,” he added. “It must be repaired within the next couple of winters – that’s how bad it is.

“We’re having to chase leaks around. As soon as we deal with one bit of the roof, it starts leaking somewhere else. We have a dehumidifier in there, and we spend what we can to keep the water out.”

Mr Collinson, a retired surveyor living in Oldfield, said: “We’ve had to temporarily close bits of the building for health and safety reasons because of the danger of the roof caving in.

“We’re employing someone who is making stop-gap repairs, but because we can’t rent out certain parts of the building for events like craft fairs and shows, that also impacts on our own income.

“I’m very pleased we’ve received grants from English Heritage and Bradford Council, but we’re still only keeping the building going on a hope and a prayer.

“The money we’ve had so far is a drop in the ocean.”

Bronte Spirit welcome any form of support via the charity’s theold schoolroomhaworth.co.uk website.

“We’d also be interested in new people with different skills and experiences to join our committee,” Mr Collinson added.