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Local History Exhibition: How the Hippies changed Hebden Bridge

Monday 6 March 2017

Hippies Exhibition

Photo: Eric Williams

An exhibition organised by the Hebden Bridge 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.

See selections from the exhibition online here

The Exhibition runs from Monday, 6 March for 5 weeks at Hebden Bridge Town Hall. And parts of the exhibition can also be seen online.

The focus is on the 1970s as this was the decade when alternative types began to move to Hebden Bridge in significant numbers. This led to a change in character of the town which resulted in its reputation for having a radical edge, attracting kindred spirits and eventually being declared the 4th funkiest town in the world.

Included in the Exhibition are photos from the 1970s and people’s memories from that time and of how they came to end up here. One thing which was very different from today is photography. Back then, cameras were expensive, not everyone had one, films had to be processed, also at a cost. So good photos which captured the spirit of the times proved hard to come across. One photographer who managed to capture the zeitgeist of the times was Eric Williams, who arrived in Hebden Bridge in May 1975.

Summer 1977

Summer 1977

Also on display are a map of where the new settlers moved to, and a collage of some of the books which were popular and influential.

The Exhibition is very much a work in in progress. The organisers hope that there are others who will send in their memories of moving to the area in the 1970s, and share any photos they may have. In order for this to happen, organisers are suggesting that people come along to the Town Hall in between 2pm and 4pm on Saturday 18 March. There will be a scanner available to capture photographs.

Alternatively, those with memories and photos could send them to hebdenbridgehippies@gmail.com

Featured in the exhibition are the Queens Terrace Squat, womens’groups, how Aurora Wholefoods brought brown rice, lentils and herbs to the town, renovation of derelict properties, living off the land, yoga guru Bob Lynn and new forms of spirituality, experiments with alternative forms of child care and a wider artistic, creative counter culture.

See parts of the Exhibition online here at the HebWeb

Hippies today

Some of the ‘hippies’ today, still enjoying the Hebden Bridge sunshine