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The Listed Buildings of the Hebden Bridge area with Peter Thornborrow

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Peter Thornborrow commenced his lecture by sketching out the process in the early 1980s that led to the then Secretary of State Michael Heseltine to rapidly expand the number of historic buildings inspectors under the aegis of what is now commonly known as English Heritage.

This in turn resulted in Peter Thornborrow, an ex-music teacher but with considerable interests in old buildings, being given the remit to look at amongst other areas, Stansfield, Heptonstall and Wadsworth. In the three months he was given for the survey he submitted successful applications for listing for over 700 buildings and structures. A considerable increase over the pre-existing 30 or so.

Little Burlees

Little Burlees

Apart from the many buildings in the upper valley he also successfully submitted for listing familiar features like Reaps Cross (then collapsed but now re-erected as a millennium initiative) and Strines Bridge above the New Delight public House. He also successfully had listed individual components of the then derelict Rochdale Canal. 

During the time that he was a music teacher in Littleborough he had seen the policy in Lancashire of destroying the iconic Lancashire and Yorkshire Railways glass platform canopies as part of a 'simplification' of the stations. As a result, when he became the inspector, he had Hebden Bridge station included in the listed structures, giving the town a 'gateway' for visitors many envy.

His lecture was illustrated with 35mm slides taken at the time interspersed with which were some of the late Ralph Cross's ethereal black and white images of interiors then derelict but now fortunately restored.

The lecture was liberally punctuated with many many anecdotes both of a personal and family nature as well as relating to buildings and their occupants. Perhaps one of the most telling was the demise of the Great Barn at Greenwood Lee. Pronounced safe by the English Heritage structural engineer, it fell down less than a fortnight later or the mill which stood on the site of the Co-op supermarket.  Due to be listed in ten days, it was demolished over a weekend.

Emerging somewhat later than usual for a history society lecture it was impossible not to reflect on the economic benefits the listing of the railway station and the canal has contributed to the tourist and allied employment in the area. It was also rather enjoyable to see images of very youthful David Cant and Kevin Illingworth, two of Peters evening class students in the 1980s. They both, of course, have gone on to make very substantial academic contributions to the study of vernacular architecture both in West Yorkshire and beyond.

The next meeting of the Hebden Bridge Local History Society is at 7. 30 on Wednesday 22nd October when Mike Crawford, Wolfgang Hombach and Nick Wilding will give us 'Views from two Communities on the Outbreak of War in 1914'. These three speakers will present thoughts on local experiences and reactions to the outbreak of war in Hanau (Germany) and in Calderdale. Themes will include recruitment and local welfare issues. All are welcome to the fortnightly talks at Hebden Bridge Methodist Church – further details on the website at www.hebdenbridgehistory.org.uk 

With thanks to Dave Smalley for this report

Previously, on the HebWeb

Valley of a Hundred Chapels by Amy Binns (29 Sept 2014)

History Group Study Day report: Power and Potability (11 Sept 2014)

Whose land is it anyway? How parliamentary enclosure shaped the landscape of the Calder Valley: speaker, Sheila Graham. Read more (6 April 2014)

Yorkshire Life between the Wars: speaker, Ian Dewhirst. Read more (20 March 2014)

Industrialisation and the Calder Valley: Communities in a unique landscape - Talk by Dr Stephen Caunce Read more (3 March 2014)

Quarrying in Calderdale: George Bowers gave a talk on the history of stone quarries in our local area. Read more (15 Feb)

Calder Valley Buildings of the Seventeenth Century: the craftsmen and their patrons Read more (27 Jan)See Small Ads (12 March)

Some thoughts on historic buildings and their repairs by Alan Gardner

Anne Kirker tells of Sam Hill of Making Place, Soyland Read more (22 Dec)

Local History Talk: A Postcard from Sunny Bunce's, a local destination that became known as the playground of the north. Read more

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 first meeting of the new season of lectures for the Hebden Bridge Local History Society was launched by Tony Morris speaking about the history of maps and map-making as well as 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 (19 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 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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