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Hebden Bridge
Local History Society

Contact Hebweb

from  the Hebden Bridge history site From the Milltown Memories website from  the Hebden Bridge history site from  the Hebden Bridge history site from  the Charlestown history site from  the Charlestown history site

Photos with thanks to Hebden Bridge Local History Society, Milltown Memories and the Charlestown History Group

Hebden Bridge History Pages

The history of Hebden Bridge is fascinating and moving. It was our Pennine hills and valleys which powered the mills and factories of the first Industrial Revolution - the overgrown ruins of these old mills can still be seen in many of our valleys.The 19th century saw the roots of the coop movement. In the middle of the 20th century came the asbestos tragedy.

Around the UK in classic railway posters - Jane Ellis of the Railway Ramblers’ Club told members of the Local History Society, who were gathered around their screens for the final Zoom of the season, about the 'golden age' of the railway poster. Read report (28 March 2021)

Lloyd George, Spanish Flu, and the 1918 General Election in the Calder Valley. In 1918, Lloyd George was already planning to fight a General Election as ‘the man who won the war.’ As Alan Fowler, former lecturer in economic and social history at Manchester Metropolitan University, explained to a Zoom meeting of Local History Society, things did not turn out quite as he planned. Read report

John F Bateman Britain's foremost reservoir engineer and local lad. In a fascinating Zoom talk to Local History Society, Michael O'Grady explored the construction of local reservoirs, and the stellar career of John F Bateman, the engineer behind the planning, design and making of Hebden Bridge's earth embankment reservoirs. Read report (27 Feb)

Who built Hebden Bridge? We so often take our own neighbourhood for-granted, but Michael Peel's talk to Hebden Bridge Local History Society brought to life the history of the buildings that make up Hebden Bridge's 'Victorian Quarter' and focused on the area known as 'the Croft' between Commercial Street, New Road and Bridge Gate.

Read report. (17 Feb)

The history of social housing in Heptonstall Historian Mary Ellen gave a Zoomed talk to the Local History Society about the ambition to demolish  slums and house working people in decent and roomy accommodation. She described a widespread feeling that a ‘new Jerusalem’ was possible. Read report. (1 Feb 2021)

Journeys between the worlds John Billingsley, local historian and folklorist, told a capacity Zoom webinar for Hebden Bridge Local History Society about the ancestral routes, known as corpseways, along which the bodies and souls of the dead were taken to their final resting place. See report (19 Jan 2021)

Common Problems: the history of common land in northern England A capacity Zoom audience joined Angus Winchester, for a talk to the Local History Society which explored the history of common land in the north of England, but which also carried contemporary resonances of ways to share resources and maintain good neighbourliness. Read report. (14 Dec 2020)

Laura Annie Willson – suffragette, builder, engineer: Anne Kirker told the story, to the online meeting of Hebden Bridge Local History Society, of a woman who is seen as extraordinary. Laura Annie Buckley was born to a poor working class family in Halifax and went on to become a trades unionist, member of the Independent Labour Party and more. Read report (3 Dec)

The Fieldens and their legacy in Todmorden Anne Mealia, local historian and genealogist, told her audience at the well-attended Zoom meeting of the Hebden Bridge Local History Society. There's hardly any aspect of life in 19th century Todmorden that the Fieldens didn't influence is some way. Read report (19 Nov)

The Low Moor Munitions Explosion of 1916 The History Society's series of Webinar lectures continued with a dramatic and engaging exploration of the devastating explosion of the Munitions Factory at Low Moor Bradford in 1916 – an accident waiting to happen. Read report (20 Oct)

The role of women locally at the end of the 17th century. David Cant transported the Local History Society Zoom audience of more than 80 people back over 300 years, exploring documentary evidence, including wills and inventories, for the role of women at this time. Read report. (29 Sept 2020)

Celebrating our woodland heritage Chris Atkinson spoke with enthusiasm to the Hebden Bridge Local History Society about the project over the past three years exploring the history of the woodlands of the South Pennines. Read report (20 March 2020)

Skipton's First World War POW Camp Anne Buckley, in a talk to the Local History Society, told about being handed a book written in German, which had been lying forgotten in the storeroom of Skipton Library since the 1950s. Read report (29 Feb 2020)

Causes and causeys – manorial regulation of roads - The Local History Society heard from Murray Seccombe who shared his experience of using records from the manor of Wakefield to get a fix on how the area's highways were managed in the seventeenth century. Read report (15 Feb 2020)

Glee Unions: Singing and Socialism in 19th Century - Members of the Local History Society cleared their voices and learned how to sing some historic glee tunes. Practical demonstration was a crucial part of Professor David Baker's talk about the golden age of Glee clubs. Read report. (27 Jan 2000)

House Histories: how to begin A recent meeting of the Local History Society focused on house histories. Members of the society came together to share their own experiences. Barbara Atack, president of the society, outlined the array of sources available for those wanting to find out more of the history of a house. Read report (18 Dec)

The Saving of Hardcastle Crags Grant Lowe told the local History Society how, when he came to work for the National Trust at Hardcastle Crags, his curiosity was aroused by a memorial recording three attempts to flood the valley - in 1934, 1949 and 1969. More info (3 Dec)

Memories of Foster Mill A large audience at the History Society welcomed Allan Stuttard to talk about his memories of his working life in the clothing industry, over forty-eight years. In the 1950s, the clothing industry in Hebden Bridge was booming, with more than 40 different manufacturing units. More info (19 Nov)

Seventy and still going strong: The general meeting of the Hebden Bridge Local History Society gave President Barbara Atack and members of the society the opportunity to celebrate its 70th birthday by looking back over the years. And there was cake! More info (3 Nov)

Mapping Elmet – the childhood and family roots of Ted Hughes: Ruth Crossley drew on powerful images of the landscape of the Upper Calder Valley when she spoke to the Hebden Bridge Local History Society at the first lecture of the new season. Read report. (17 Oct 2019)

PeterlooRemembering Peterloo with Alan Fowler A sunny Monday, 200 years ago, 16 August, 1819 in Manchester.

 

A peaceful, lively meeting of 60,000 men, women and children, calling for the vote and political reform. The cavalry charged: 15 dead and 600 injured. Read report of Local History lecture. (19 March)

Woodlands of the South Pennines – their industrial history. Today, our woodlands are largely a place of leisure, but as Hywel Lewis told the Local History Society, their history shows how closely they were integrated in the industrial economic life of this area. Read report. (6 March 2019)

The history of farming in the industrial Pennines Does it seem like a contradiction to speak on the topic of 'farming in the industrial Pennines'? At the recent meeting of the Local History Society, Dr Stephen Caunce tried to answer this question. Read report. (21 Feb)

Milestones and waymarkers in the South Pennines For David Garside of the Yorkshire Milestones Society, the collecting and mapping of wayside markers is a passion which he shared with a meeting of the Hebden Bridge Local History Society. Read report. (28 Jan 2019)

Lost housesLost Houses of the South Pennines. There was standing room only when artist Kate Lycett came to speak to Hebden Bridge Local History Society about the stories behind her hugely successful paintings of the Lost Houses of the South Pennines.

 

Read report (15 Jan 2019)

Breweries and licensed trade in the Upper Calder Valley from 1800 was the subject of the talk given to the local History Society by Peter Robinson. He told the story of the inns and beerhouses of our area during the period of industrialisation and population growth. Read report. (21 Dec 2018)

The story of the Fustian Co-operative at Nutclough Mill was the subject of the talk given by Andrew Bibby to the History Society. This Hebden Bridge landmark was home to a worker-run co-op which ran, at a profit, for almost 50 years achieving national and international fame. Read report (1 Dec 2018)

Anne Lister: the life and loves of a local lady With the newly filmed story of Anne Lister about to launch on TV, the Hebden Bridge Local History Society heard something of her story from a long serving volunteer at Shibden Hall. More info (19 Nov 2018)

The Norman Conquest of Yorkshire:Dr Paul Dalton told the History Society about the resistance to Norman rule in Yorkshire in the years that followed the Battle of Hastings. In Yorkshire, William was seen not to have kept his promises, and the imposition of heavy taxes was resented. Read more (20 March)

Seven Centuries of Recorded Floods in the Calder Valley: Thirty people struggled through snow and blizzards to attend a talk on the subject of floods. Nick Wilding, local filmmaker, was the speaker at a meeting of the Hebden Bridge Local History Society. Read more (6 March)

Damn Your Eyes! John Billingsley told the Local History Society how the 'Halifax houses', farm and clothiers' houses of 17th Century Calder Valley, often have decorative architectural details resembling the 'evil eye' - to ward off bad luck. Read more (19 Feb)

The people of the parish of Halifax 1539 to 1670 - Local History Society meeting with speaker David Cant - Up to half the people of England died during the Black Death of 1348; it took two centuries before the population returned to the same number. Single events such as this can have dramatic results, so the group set out to use parish records to investigate. Read report (31 Jan)

WW1: Women and Girls in the Upper Calder Valley Julia Maybury told the Local History Society that she was inspired by the commemoration of the centenary of the WW1 to explore the roles of women and girls at the time, searching newspapers, listening to some fascinating oral history recordings and using the evidence of old photographs Read more (14 Jan)

From Crime Scene to Holiday Camp: The first thing that Freda Kelsall had to deal with when she bought Hawdon Hall near Hardcastle Crags, was the tangle of names: Howden or Howdon – Hole, Hoyle or Hall? But the house also came with many stories, most famously the Hawdon Hall murder. Report of recent History Society talk. (20 Dec 2017)

The Withins Farms

The Withins Farms

Historian Steven Wood told the local history society about the Withins Farms, including Top Withins, which provided Emily Brontë with her inspiration for Wuthering Heights. Read more. (16 Nov)

Hebden HippiesHow the hippies shaped Hebden Bridge: Report of the talk given by Chris Ratcliffe and Jenny Slaughter to a packed meeting of the Hebden Bridge Local History Society, telling of communal living, revolutionary politics, alternative lifestyles and more.

 

Read report (2 Nov)

Todmorden Old Pub Trail- Barbara Rudman told the recent meeting of the Local History Society how her passion for the history of twentieth century pubs led her to explore the stories of the pubs in Todmorden and how they reflect social change. Read report (17 Oct 2017)

Memories from Hebden Bridge Pharmacies. The apothecary’s bottles, jars and scales on display at the recent meeting of the Local History Society seemed redolent of an ancient craft; in fact they were an essential part of the working life of Linda Powell. Read report (4 Oct 2017)

How the Hippies Changed Hebden Bridge

How the Hippies Changed Hebden Bridge: An exhibition organised by the Local History Society aims to show how those who moved into our area in the 1970s - the locals called them 'hippies' - kick-started the cultural renaissance which is today so Hebden Bridge. Read more.

 

A tale of the Great Stink! Speaker Tony Boughton gave Hebden Bridge Local History Society a talk about the problems caused by the rapid growth of urban areas in the 19th century. Read more. (16 March 2017)

 

Great Uncle Percy: Inventor of ‘Cats’ Eyes’ Glenda Shaw told the local History Society of the story of Percy Shaw, inventor of the reflecting road studs or ‘Cats’ Eyes’ Read more. (1 March 2017)

People Puzzles and Earning a Living: Mike Crawford gave the The Alan Petford Memorial Lecture 2017 to the Local History Society, explaining the fascination of working with old documents. Read report (13 Feb 2017)

Mytholmroyd: the development of a Pennine village - Rodney Collinge told the Local History Society how developments from the Ice Age to the end of the 19th century have left their marks on the area. Read more. (31 Jan 2017)

Did I see Marilyn? Allan Stuttard gave a talk to the Local History Society on his time as a soldier during the Korean War. Read more (19 Jan 2017)

Carols and Christmas Diana Monahan gave a talk to the Local History Society on carols, tracing them back to medieval times. Read more (21 Dec 2016)

1916: The women machinists' strike in Hebden Bridge Andrew Bibby told the recent History Society meeting how, exactly a hundred years ago, in November 1916, at the height of World War One, women garment makers of Hebden Bridge came out on strike. Read more

Traditional Farmhouses and Buildings in the Lancashire and Yorkshire Pennines was the subject of the recent Local History Society talk by Kevin Illingworth. Read report (19 Nov 2016)

History Report: Gracie Fields, transpennine crossings and industrial use of woodlands were topics covered at the recent meeting of the Hebden Bridge Local History Society - see report. (2 Nov 20-)

Buried Alive? Past Funeral Customs in Calderdale: David Glover, local historian and writer, indulged a fascination with the macabre with his talk to Hebden Bridge Local History Society with an eclectic mix of tales of deaths and burials. Read more. (19 Oct)

The Brontë familyThe Brontë family Isobel Stirk told the Hebden Bridge History Society that 200 years after the birth of Charlotte Brontë a fascination with the lives of all three sisters remains as strong as ever. Read report. (5 Oct)

Joseph Wood, a Yorkshire Quaker - Pamela Cooksey told the Local History Society of his many notebooks which included accounts of his visits to the Calder Valley in the late 18th Century. Read more 28 March

Calderdale Conscientious Objectors in the First World War: John Rhodes told the Local History Society about what happened to those who opposed the war and those who sought exemption from military service on grounds of conscience. Read more 9 March

Railway Roundabout:

Paul Kenny, by profession a signal-man (including at Hebden Bridge) is also a keen photographer, and shared slides and his stories with the Local History Society.

Read more 16 Feb

Restoring a Unique Organ: Peter Jeffery explained how a special organ came to be restored during the time when he was vicar of Cornholme. Read more 31 Jan

Packhorse signTales along the Packhorse Way

 

At this recent talk, John Billingsley, author of six books on local folklore, told the Local History Society of places passed along the Long Causeway, a 'bleak and comfortless road.' Read more 18 Jan

Widdop and the Shackletons: John Shackleton told the Local History Society how his family history search led him to the the remote hill-top settlement of Widdop. Read report 1 Dec 2015

The History of Calrec: part 2: Local History Society report with Stephen Jagger who told how the company learnt from mistakes, takeovers and technological challenges to establish a leading brand of audio mixing desks. Read more 19 Nov 2015

What's in a Name: Local History Society meeting report with speakers Keith Stansfield and Barbara Atack. An insight into local dialects and surnames of the Calder Valley. Read report 9 Nov 2015

The Lost Kingdom of Elmet: Local History Society meeting report with speaker Dave Weldrake who used evidence from place names and archaeology to illuminate this lost kingdom from the Celtic twilight. Read more 1 Nov 2015.

Nutclough MillWhen Oxford University Came to Hebden Bridge:

When the Nutclough Mill was a co-op, it hosted an annual series of lectures, given by Oxford University dons and others on history, politics, literature and science - report from the local History Society.

Read more 29 Oct 2015

The dam that isn't and the great floating plug of the Colden - was the topic of the recent talk to the Hebden Bridge History Society. Read more - (1 April 2015)

Gruelling Experiences - in the workhouse: Peter Higginbotham's researches enabled him to to recount a complex and fascinating story to the Local History Society. Above: former workhouse: Stansfield View, 2-3 miles from HB. Read more 16 March 2015

Pre-History on our hill tops: a period of time covering 7000 years before history was recorded was the topic of the recent talk to the Hebden Bridge History Society. Read more 9 March

Growing up in Sowerby: Jean Illingworth's love for, and fascination with, her home town of Sowerby was at the heart of her talk to the Hebden Bridge History Society. Read more 16 Feb 2015

Nigel Smith spoke about Patterns in the Landscape: the evolution of settlement and enclosure in the Upper Calder Valley. And revealed the origins of some local place names. Read more 5 Feb 2015

Wakefield Court Rolls for Family History: Sylvia Thomas: president of Yorks Archaeological Society, Sylvia Thomas outlined how details about family relationships and everyday life may be gleaned from the Wakefield Court Rolls, which cover much of the former West Riding, including the Calder Valley. Read more. 18 Jan 2015

Happy Birthday Stoodley Pike. Local film-maker and historical researcher, Nick Wilding shared his filmed collection of reminiscences about the Pike, and its 200 years, with the Local History Society. Read more (16 Dec 2014)

Wills, Inventories and Economic Activity in the Parish of Halifax at the end of the 17th Century, was the topic on which Alan Petford gave his talk to the Local History Society. Read report. (30 Nov)

Local History Archive: those attending the latest History Society session were treated to a sample of some of the treasures to be found in the Society's archive. Read report (19 Nov)

Listed Buildings around Hebden Bridge: In the 1980s, Peter Thornborrow was given the task of suggesting buildings which should be Listed in Stansfield, Heptonstall and Wadsworth - latest Local History Society talk. Read more (14 Oct)

Valley of a Hundred Chapels: Searching online maps was the starting point for Amy Binns' fascination with chapels, as she told a packed meeting of the Hebden Bridge Local History Society. Read more (29 Sept)

Power and Potability, Water in the South Pennine landscape was the subject of the Study Day organised by the Hebden Bridge History Group. Read more (10 Sept 2014)

Whose land is it anyway? Sheila Graham described how parliamentary enclosure shaped the landscape of the Calder Valley to the Local History Group. Read more (6 April 2014)

National Rat Week was one of the annual events described by Ian Dewhirst in his talk to the Local History Group on Yorkshire Life between the Wars. Read more (20 March 2014)

George Bowers gave a talk on the history of stone quarries in our local area. More info (15 Feb 2014)

David Cant spoke about his many years studying 17th century fine houses of the Calder Valley and using documentary evidence to uncover stories of craftsmen who worked to design and construct them. Read more. (27 Jan 2014)

Hebden Bridge based chartered building surveyor, Alan Gardner, who specialises in the repair of historic buildings, shared his thoughts with members of the Local History Society. Read more. (10 Jan 2014)

Anne Kirker recounted the story of of Sam Hill of Making Place, one of the greatest manufacturers the 18th century. Read more. (22 Dec 2013)

A Postcard from Sunny Bunce's: a local destination that became known as the playground of the north. Read more (5 Dec 2013)

Withens Reservoir, the subject of the latest Local History Talk, was part of a fascinating story . . . not so much Cragg Vale's reservoir as the property of distant Morley. Read more (19 Nov)

Local History talk on Witchcraft in the Upper Calder Valley: As make-believe witches come knocking on our doors John Billingsley, folklorist and author of many books on the subject, told members of the Local History Society that to our ancestors witchcraft was very real indeed. More info (27 Oct)

Local History talk on Mytholmroyd's Moderna: Joan Laprell spoke to the Hebden Bridge Local History Society where she recalled the village within a village that was the Moderna Blanket Factory in Mytholmroyd, where she worked for ten years. More info (12 Oct)

Local History talk on maps: The new season of lectures for the Hebden Bridge Local History Society was launched by Tony Morris speaking about the history of maps, map-making and cartographic crime. More info (30 Sept)

Bridge Mill: History on our doorstep. Justine Wyatt, with the support of the mill’s current owner David Fletcher, has uncovered more of the story of the building, and gave a fascinating talk to the Hebden Bridge Local History Society. Read more (3 April)

Working from home in 1825; Working from home is not a new concept, Malcolm Heywood told members of the Hebden Bridge Local History Society. William Greenwood's described his several different occupations. Read more (20 March)

The Grave of Robin Hood; mysterious goings-on in Calderdale. Kai Roberts told the local history society about Robin Hood in Calderdale and especially the monument known as Robin Hood’s Grave. Read more (11 March)

Todmorden Weavers and the Great War: Alan Fowler, former lecturer in Economic and Social History, told a meeting of the Hebden Bridge Local History Society that the local Weavers’ Association had 4000 members at its peak. Read more (20 Feb)

Our Railway Station in the 19th century. David Taylor told a meeting of the Local History Society about how the early railway developed in Hebden Bridge. Read more (28 Jan)

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 a meeting of the Local History Society 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 2012)

Clubhouses: self help and co-operation - Julie Cockburn told a meeting of the Local History Society about Clubhouses, a small row of houses in Old Town which encapsulate some of the history and spirit of the Calder Valley. Read more (30 Oct 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

Memories of past times. Boarding at a Pecket Well farm, Peter Kelly taught at Calder High from 1958 to 1961, and has sent the Hebden Bridge Web some of his memories.

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