Tuesday, 12 September 2012
Hebden Bridge's community-run Town Hall: open at last
Visitors get a valley experience at the Town Hall's new Reception
Open at last – that's the reassuring news from Hebden Bridge's community-run Town Hall, following the finishing touches which the builders have been putting to the building in recent weeks.
Access to the whole building, old and new, is now through the main entrance foyer, which has been created out of the derelict garage opposite the market square, once used to store the town's fire engine. The foyer provides level access from the pavement, and replaces the steps formally used as the entrance to the old Town Hall. It also replaces the side door on Hangingroyd Lane, for anyone wanting to get to Calderdale's Customer First desk, the café, the public riverside courtyard, and the Waterfront Hall.
Sarah Lister-Blow, executive director of Hebden Bridge Community Association, says: "It's been a little frustrating in recent weeks not to have had the building fully complete, but we're delighted now that entrance foyer is open. We'll welcome anyone who hasn't yet been in to explore the building to come and have a look."
One of the first things which all visitors to the Town Hall will see is the reception desk, which takes pride of place in the foyer.
The desk is a bespoke piece of furniture which the Community Association has commissioned from local craftsman and contemporary furniture designer Jim Leach, whose workshop is in Hebden Bridge. The design he has chosen draws inspiration from the local landscape, as he explains: "I have designed many reception desks during my 16 years as a professional designer but I have never felt such a personal
responsibility to come up with something so special. It was clear to me from a very early stage that the design should reference the local area in some way, however this had to be coupled with an aesthetic that fitted my primary aim. I wanted any reference to be subtle and sculptural rather than literal."
"There are many things that make Hebden Bridge special and it would be impossible to reference them all, so I decided to think about what makes it special to me. I am a lover of the outdoors, I mountain bike, rock climb and walk and in my 9 years of living in the town I have spent much of that time in the hills around it. For me, the geography of the intricate valleys around the town make it like no other place in this country.
"The final design takes a three-dimensional topographical map and turns them into two-dimensional curves, which are then reformed to create a shape that simulates the hills and valleys surrounding the town. When looking at the front of the desk you are in fact looking down on the landscape around us."
Jim Leach has a growing reputation for his beautiful contemporary furniture, which use high quality sustainable materials. He works from the town's Beehive Mill, and can be contacted on 07729119893, or see his website.
Hebden Bridge Town Hall is one of the first in the country to be owned and managed by a community-run charitable trust, following the pioneering asset transfer from Calderdale council in 2010.
Previously, on the HebWeb:
How this groundmaking project has developed since 2007
BBC's Any Questions? to be recorded in Hebden Bridge (19 July 2012)
Making the Town Hall a creative place for business (3 May 2012)
New choral work to mark opening of community hall (1st April 2012)
Hebden Bridge to host national Ambitious Communities conference (27 March 2012)
Town Hall team seek café and catering operator (19 Feb 2012)
Town Hall looks for enthusiastic project officer (2 Feb 2012)
Town Hall gets Heritage Lottery Fund backing (Dec 2011)
Town Hall will Open Doors as part of National Heritage Weekend
(2nd August 2011)
Pennine Quarry will supply stone for Town Hall (April 2011)
Town Hall Development gets go ahead
Calderdale Council give 125 year lease for Town Hall (26 October 2010)
Town Hall Development Plans go to Calderdale (16 July 2010)
Public consultation on Town Hall plans (May 2010)
Association seeks Treasurer to take on Town Hall role (2 March 2010)
Invitation to see plans for Town Hall (Feb 2010)
Weddings and civil partnerships at Town Hall (Jan 2010)
Town Hall Future Secure (Dec 2009)
Town Hall Group seeks ‘Friends’ (April 2009)
Hebden Bridge Town Hall project: Transfer of Town Hall to community ownership one step closer (March 2009)
HebWeb News: New Charity created to manage Town Hall (Jan 2009)
HebWeb News: Government gives thumbs up to Hebden Bridge Town Hall plans (July 2008)
HebWeb News: Plans to put Town Hall once again at the heart of local life (October 2007)