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Hebden Bridge Railway Station in the 19th century

Monday, 28 January 2013

As commuters huddle from the cold in the waiting rooms on Hebden Bridge Station they can glimpse something of how the railways used to be in the photographic displays provided by the Friends of Hebden Bridge Station. An eager audience at a meeting of Hebden Bridge Local History Society learnt much more from the researches of David Taylor, member of both societies, and railway enthusiast.

The coming of the Lancashire Yorkshire Railway through the Calder Valley transformed more than the landscape, David Taylor explained. At first it was envisaged only as a means of transporting freight and servicing the growing industrial towns, but the potential for transporting passengers soon became apparent.

Hebden Bridge Station by AF Tait

Hebden Bridge Station by AF Tait

On one of the first journeys between Sowerby Bridge and Hebden Bridge, when every available place was taken, people climbed up on top of the carriages, precariously standing most of the way and ducking down when the train went through tunnels.

Goods Warehouse and Yard looking north west

Warehouse and Yard looking north west

Railway travel became hugely popular, turning Hebden Bridge, Hardcastle Crags and Hollingworth Lake into tourist destinations for thousands of ordinary people. A day trip from Hebden Bridge in 1844 saw hundreds flocking to be on the train at 6.30 in the morning to stand up in the third class open waggon all the way to Hull and back!

The first Hebden Bridge Railway station opened in 1840, with a small booking office and separate waiting rooms for the first class ladies and gentlemen.

Eventually public pressure and competition forced the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway to improve its facilities, providing warehouses, goods yards, a general waiting room and eventually the new station constructed in 1891.Now, what had been called the ‘neatest station on the line’ still serves the town, and has a band of faithful friends.

The next meeting of the Hebden Bridge Local History Society, on Wednesday 13th February, will hear from Alan Fowler about Todmorden Weavers of the Great War. Details on the web site www.hebdenbridgehistory.org.uk

Many thanks to Sheila Graham for this report

See also

Untold Stories: A glimpse into the lives of local people - Tony Wright has for the past ten years been collecting personal life stories on film and audio tape. Read more (18 Jan)

City in the Hills - Corinne McDonald and Ann Kilbey told a meeting of the Local History Society of Dawson City, the building of the Walshaw Dean Reservoirs and the publication of a new book. Read more (16 Dec)

Lament for the Mills - Robert Cockcroft, poet and academic told of his childhood spent close to mills owned and operated by his grandfather, John Cockcroft and his father, Keith. Read more (2 Dec)

How much thought do you give to a war memorial? - Mike Edwards told a meeting of the Local History Society, war memorials can be found in many forms and in unusual places. Read more (17 Nov)

Clubhouses: self help and co-operation - A small row of houses in Old Town, called Clubhouses, encapsulates some of the history and spirit of the Calder Valley explains Julie Cockburn. (30 October 2012)

Small Town Saturday Night - The story of a love affair with rock 'n roll at its peak in the 1950s and 60s from speaker Trevor Simpson.

The world of Cornelius Ashworth, speaker Alan Petford, Local History talk of 10 October 2012

Hebden Bridge Local History Society

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