Thornton and Allerton Community Association Ltd

Thornton and Allerton Community Association Ltd

At a glance


  • Arts
  • Health and well being / research and care
  • Local / community
  • Museums / heritage
  • Older people / later life
  • Training / employment support
  • Women
  • Young people

Other details

Geographical remit: 


Thornton and Allerton Community Association (TACA) is the registered charity that is responsible for the overall running of South Square Centre; a grassroots community and cultural centre, with a year-round free exhibition programme as well as community-led events and workshops. Thornton Antiquarians Society’s Archive is located and accessible on site. We provide a variety of training opportunities including fellowships, paid internships for unemployed people, work experience placements and a wide range of volunteering opportunities.


South Square is a landmark space in the conservation area of Thornton village, a suburb of Bradford, a city with high levels of deprivation and low levels of investment. We are committed to maintaining the building and ensuring it is open and accessible to the public and available for community use, through events, festivals, open days, guided tours and room hires. We are successful in bringing together a diverse range of participants and we provide space and support for local people to organise their own activities.


South Square comprises a series of Grade II listed interconnected houses set around a cobbled courtyard space in Thornton village, approximately five miles to the west of Bradford. Thornton is physically separated from the urban area and this lends the village a rural aspect that is reinforced by the village atmosphere and local pride. Since 1980s South Square has been used as a community and cultural centre. South Square is a prominent building in Thornton and acts as a social hub for local residents.

The cottages in South Square would have been one of the earliest housing developments in the Village. The mortgage of 1872 between Henry Priestley and the Bradford Third Equitable Benefit Building Society describes it as comprising 9 cottages plus 1 shop. Throughout its early history it would have been home to families connected to various trades and jobs, but mostly likely stone-masons and textile workers.

The building was officially opened as an art gallery, small museum and meeting rooms by the Lady Mayor of Bradford, Olive Messer on April 20th 1985. It was at this point the organisation ‘Thornton and Allerton Community Association’ (TACA) was constituted as a charity to run the building for community benefit and cultural activities.

The cultural programme at the centre dates back to 1982, full details are held in the centre’s Archive. It is a credit to the commitment of dedicated staff, enthusiastic volunteers and members of the community that South Square continues in this same tradition today. Alongside its agricultural and industrial heritage Thornton also boasts a unique link to a cultural and literary phenomenon of the time that still continues today, as all four Brontë children were born and lived within the Village until in 1820.

We are currently the latter stages of a Community Asset Transfer of the building, to obtain a long term lease and so are also looking to raise capital funds to repair and refurbish the spaces. We have so far been successful in applying for grant funding from Bradford Council, Heritage Lottery Fund and Architectural Heritage Fund for feasibility works. There is a significant amount of support from local people, funders, local authority and local councillors, so the organisation is an exciting and pivotal point in its life.

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