Piece Hall Halifax

Halifax Piece Hall – An Architectural Gem

 

 

After several years of renovation, Halifax’s magnificent 18th century cloth market – The Piece Hall – reopened on 1 August 2017 (Yorkshire Day). Originally built in 1779 as a market hall for merchants selling hand-woven woollen and worsted cloth produced by independent yeoman clothiers from the surrounding area, this spectacular Grade I Listed building is an architectural masterpiece.

Constructed from fine-grained local sandstone with a stone slate roof, the Piece Hall is the most significant surviving monument to the domestic textile industry in Britain. The building takes its name from the 30 yard lengths of cloth, known as ‘pieces’, which were the mainstay of its trade, along with raw wool.

A large rectangular building housing 315 small rooms, the Piece Hall is believed to have been designed by Thomas Bradley, a Halifax architect and builder who was Surveyor for the Calder Navigation Company. Taking the form of a quadrangle, the Piece Hall has a large open square in the centre measuring approximately 110 yards by 91 yards. Constructed on a slope, the western side has a ground floor with one upper storey, while the east face is on three levels, with internal staircases at each corner.

Classical in style, the Piece Hall draws inspiration from Roman and Italian Renaissance buildings. The merchants’ rooms are set back behind elegant colonnades. The lower arcade has round-headed arches on square piers. The middle level has Rustic pillars with Tuscan capitals. The upper colonnade has circular Doric columns.

There are arched gateways on three sides of the buildingThe north gateway, which was originally the main entrance, has a pediment topped by  a classical urn, and is inscribed ‘Opened January 1st 1779’. The west gateway has a classical cupola with a bell, surmounted by a Golden Fleece and a weather vane. The south gateway features elaborate multi-coloured cast iron gates dating from 1871.

Trading at the Piece Hall was strictly regulated and took place between 10 am and 12 noon each saturday morning. Originally cloth was transported to the Piece Hall by packhorses after being collected from farms and cottages on the surrounding uplands where it was made. The cloth was then distributed throughout Britain and Europe.

Following the Industrial Revolution, textile manufacturing processes were mechanised and production shifted to water- and steam-powered mills in the valleys. This radically altered the system of trade, as a  result of which the Piece Hall rapidly became defunct. From the early 19th century onwards the building was used for a variety of additional purposes, including firework displays, religious sermons and political rallies. In 1867 the Piece Hall was transferred to the Halifax Corporation and from 1871 onwards it was used as a wholesale fish, fruit and market. This continued for the next 100 years.

By the early 1970s when the wholesale market ceased, the Piece Hall had fallen into disrepair and was threatened with demolition. Thankfully it was saved, however, and after being renovated, the building reopened in 1976 housing shops and an outdoor market.

Following another major restoration project grant-aided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Piece Hall has been given a new lease of life in 2017. Now managed by the Piece Hall Trust, it incorporates shops, galleries, cafes and bars, as well as displays about the history of  this iconic building. A varied programme of outdoor events – from street theatre to art installations and concerts – will be held in the repaved central square, a stunning public space.

Adjoining the Piece Hall  is the newly-extended Square Chapel Arts Centre, a lively arts complex including a cinema, theatre and cafe bar. Housed in the historic Square Chapel, a red-brick Georgian chapel dating back to 1772, this is a key element in Halifax’s new Cultural Quarter, along with the new Central Library and Archive incorporating the spire of the 19th century Square Church. The library houses a Visitor Information Centre and provides direct access to the Piece Hall from Halifax railway station and  neighbouring Eureka! The National Children’s Museum.

 

 

www.thepiecehall.co.uk

www.squarechapel.co.uk

www.historicengland.org.uk

 

 

© Text and images copyright Lesley Jackson

Bingley Five Rise Locks

Bingley’s Five Rise Locks

One of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways

 

 

Less than 3 miles from Saltaire along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal are the famous Five Rise Locks at Bingley, one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Waterways’. Built  in 1774, the five adjoining locks raise boats over 59 feet (18 metres) over a distance of 320 feet.

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal, connecting two major cities on either side of the Pennines, spans 127 miles and is the longest canal in the UK. Bingley’s Five Rise Locks are 16 miles from Leeds. Known as staircase locks because they open directly into each other, with the top gate of one lock forming the bottom gate of the next, Bingley’s Five Rise Locks are the steepest in the  country. A few hundred yards along the canal is another shorter flight of locks: the Bingley Three Rise Locks.

Designed by John Longbotham of Halifax, the Five Rise Locks were built by four local stonemasons: John Sugden of Wilsden and Barnabus Morvil, Jonathan Farrar and William Wild of Bingley.

The locks are a remarkable feat of engineering and are still in use today, operated by lock keepers. The photographs show two narrow boats passing through the Five Rise Locks in August 2017. 

 

For more information, follow these links:

Leeds and Liverpool Canal

Pennine Waterways

Canal and River Trust

www.penninewaterways.co.uk

© Text and photographs copyright Lesley Jackson

Hepworth 2017 Museum of Year

The Hepworth

Wakefield

Winner of Museum of the Year for 2017, The Hepworth showcases an outstanding collection of sculpture by Barbara Hepworth in a stunning modern building by leading architect David Chipperfield. One of the greatest sculptors of the 20th century, local artist Barbara Hepworth was inspired by the Yorkshire landscape where she grew up. The Hepworth celebrates her achievements and forms part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle, along with the nearby Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Leeds Art Gallery. The museum also hosts a stimulating programme of exhibitions, mainly focusing on 20th century and contemporary art. 

Gallery Walk, Wakefield WF1 5AW

Tel. 01924 247360 

www.hepworthwakefield.org 

 

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

West Bretton, near Wakefield

 

 

Part of the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle – along with Leeds Art Gallery and The Hepworth in Wakefield – the award-winning Yorkshire Sculpture Park is a fantastic indoor-outdoor venue for exhibitions of modern sculpture. Major exhibitions are held in the museum’s striking hillside galleries and on the surrounding landscaped estate at Bretton Hall. The nearby chapel provides another stunning venue and large-scale works by Henry Moore sculptures are also displayed in the open countryside in the adjoining country park. Museum of the Year for 2014, YSP is an excellent place to visit for both adults and kids.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield WF4 4LG

Tel. 01924 832631

www.ysp.co.uk

Jumble Hole Clough

Jumble Hole Clough

 

Jumble Hole Clough is one of the many delightful spurs off the Upper Calder Valley near Hebden Bridge. Steep, narrow and densely wooded, it is hard to believe that this was once a hive of industry. A series of water-powered textile mills once tapped the river running through this valley, including the picturesque Staups Mill, seen in these images.

Fay Godwin photographed these intriguing ruins for Ted Hughes’s book Remains of Elmet in the 1970s. Amazingly, the building is still just about standing, although the clough itself is more overgrown than ever. 

Just one of the hidden gems to be discovered on walks near Elmet Farmhouse. 

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

Photos of the Month 2017

Elmet Farmhouse Photos of the Month: 2017

A hand-picked selection of recent photos featuring views from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well above Hebden Bridge and snapshots of the surrounding countryside in and around the Upper Calder Valley

 September 2017

View of Heptonstall from Elmet Farmhouse at 7.25am on 19 September 2017 – beautiful pinky-purple light on the hills beyond

 

Stoodley Pike and Heptonstall in the early morning sunshine, with the trees in Hardcastle Crags just starting to turn

 

Multiple pockets of early morning mist clinging to the woods in Hardcastle Crags, viewed from Crimsworth Dean

 

River of mist in the Calder Valley between Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike, photographed at 6.54am on 19 September 2017

 

The magnificent newly-restored Halifax Piece Hall, built in 1779 for merchants to trade locally-made hand-woven woollen cloth

 

Looking more like an Italian piazza than an 18th century cloth market, the impressive Grade I Listed Halifax Piece Hall now houses cafes and shops and provides a unique venue for outdoor events

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

August 2017

This month’s photos are devoted to the spectacular display of heather above Widdop Reservoir, not far from Hardcastle Crags. Seen here is a dramatic rocky outcrop called Dove Stones slicing up through the heather moorland on Widdop Moor.

 

View along Great Edge, a rocky gritstone outcrop running for a mile or so above Widdop Reservoir

 

Great Edge with heather in full bloom on Widdop Moor

 

Widdop Reservoir from Widdop Moor

 

Widdop Reservoir from Great Edge in the early morning sunshine

 

Cludders Slack above Widdop Reservoir

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

July 2017

 

Deer oh deer! A beautiful roe deer kid in the field at Elmet Farmhouse, one of pair of twins born in our hay meadow in June.

 

Double at t’mill! Gibson Mill reflected in the millpond in Hardcastle Crags on a lovely sunny July morning.

 

View of Gibson Mill with the old packhorse bridge in the heart of Hardcastle Crags

 

Hebden Water, the river running through the narrow gorge-like valley of Hardcastle Crags, with its verdant summer canopy

 

First cut: the start of this year’s haymaking in the meadow at Elmet Farmhouse, with the panoramic backdrop of Heptonstall Church and Stoodley Pike

 

Making hay while the sun shines in the meadow at Elmet Farmhouse. The grass is turned several times so that it dries out before being baled.

 

View from Elmet Farmhouse with swathes of mist rising up from Hardcastle Crags and swirling around the hilltop village of Heptonstall, taken at 7.30am on 23 July 2017

 

© Photos copyright Ian Fishwick and Lesley Jackson

 

June 2017

 

The magical hidden valley of Jumble Hole Clough, one of the numerous spurs off the Upper Calder Valley near Hebden Bridge

 

The atmospheric ruins of Staups Mill in Jumble Hole Clough

 

Golden plover chick on Wadsworth Moor above Pecket Well – listen out for the peeps

 

Curlew in Crimsworth Dean 

 

On the tops above Walshaw between Crimsworth Dean and Hardcastle Crags

 

Well-fed lambs on the lush green slopes above Hardcastle Crags with golden buttercups in the hilltop hay meadows across the valley 

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

May 2017

 

One subjects dominates this month… bluebells

 

An aurora borealis of bluebells in Hardcastle Crags

 

Close up and personal with the bluebells and stitchwort in Hardcastle Crags

 

Bluebells carpeting the earth beneath the trees in Hardcastle Crags

 

Newly-unfurled beech leaves overhanging Hebden Water in the woodland paradise of Hardcastle Crags

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

April 2017

 

Lamb piggy back in Crimsworth Dean

 

Number 1: new-born lamb in Crimsworth Dean

 

Early spring sunshine in Crimsworth Dean

 

Ramsons (aka wild garlic) in the woods in Crimsworth Dean

 

A river of ramsons rampaging down the steep slopes of Crimsworth Dean

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

March 2017

 

Mill chimney in Colden Clough near Heptonstall

 

Evocative remains from a huge complex of mills in the woods near Lumb Bank in Colden Clough

 

Elmet Farmhouse in the spring sunshine with a dazzling display of daffodils

 

View from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well, looking towards Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike

 

The handsome stone mullion windows of 18th century Elmet Farmhouse, with forsythia and daffodils in the garden

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

February 2017

 

River of Mist in Hardcastle Crags below Elmet Farmhouse with Stoodley Pike on the  horizon

Mist clearing in Pecket Well Clough below Elmet Farmhouse

 

Expectant sheep at Grain Farm in Crimsworth Dean

 

Heron nest-building in the treetops above Hardcastle Crags

 

Early morning above Colden Clough near Heptonstall

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

 

January 2017

 

Stoodley Pike from bridleway above Horsehold, near Hebden Bridge

 

View from Pecket Well towards Heptonstall

 

View along Crimsworth Dean towards Stoodley Pike

 

Sheep in the bracken in Crimsworth Dean

 

Walshaw Lodge above Hardcastle Crags

 

© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson

Whoosh! Castle Carr Fountain

Castle Carr Fountain

Castle Carr is a private estate in Luddenden Dean which is opened up to the public several times of year. The principal attraction is the magnificent fountain in the ornamental water gardens, developed in the grounds of Castle Carr during the early 1870s. Funded by Halifax Water Corporation as compensation for building the nearby reservoirs, the water garden was designed by Halifax architect John Hogg, who also contributed to the design of the Castle Carr mansion. 

The single jet fountain is in the centre of a circular pool, known as the Compensation Basin, surrounded by rhododendrons and woods. Gravity fed with over 60 metres of fall from a huge tank above Deep Clough Farm, the force of the water is so powerful that the fountain can reach heights of over 100ft, second only to the fountain at Chatsworth in Derbyshire.

These photos show the fountain in action on a sunny summer afternoon on Sunday 3 July 2016. A huge crowd gathered to watch the spectacle at 2pm in a charity event organised by Halifax Rotary Club. Following the countdown to the switch-on, the fountain shoots up extremely quickly, rising higher and higher above the trees. The spray is cast far and wide in the wind, creating rainbow effects as it catches the light. 

Originally there were four other fountains at the corners of the pool, but these no longer function as the cast iron pipes that supplied them with water were damaged by flooding in 1989.  Thankfully the main fountain is still in good working order and this year’s display was as spectacular as ever.

 

The Ruins of Castle Carr

 

En route to the fountain are the atmospheric ruins of Castle Carr, a huge Victorian mansion constructed in a prominent position towards the top of Luddenden Dean. Designed by Thomas Risley, it was built for Captain Joseph Priestly Edwards between 1859 and 1867 , but demolished just over a century later. Edwards himself never actually inhabited Castle Carr as he and his eldest son were killed in a railway accident before the house was finished. The building was completed during the early 1870s by his younger son Lea Priestley Edwards, with later additions by Halifax architect John Hogg, who also developed the water gardens.

Although Lea Priestley Edwards lived at Castle Carr from 1875-6, its vast scale and damp location made the house impractical as a permanent residence, although it was later used as a hunting lodge. Latterly owned by the Murgatroyds, the wealthy textile family who built the Oats Royd Mill complex lower down the Luddenden valley, Castle Carr was used for parties during the 1930s but fell into disrepair during the Second World War. Following the sale of the estate in 1961, most  of the house was demolished and the building materials auctioned.

The only section of the building still standing (albeit precariously) is the portcullis entrance tower, originally the main gateway to a large courtyard around which the house was built. Part of the kitchen block also remains and the vaulted ovens are still visible in the foundations. Lower down the valley are the castellated lodge houses bridging the lane. Whereas the rest of the estate is only accessible a few days each year when the fountain is in operation, the lodges can be viewed from a public track. 

 

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© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick

2016 White Rose Awards

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PRESS RELEASE: Elmet Farmhouse Shortlisted for 2016 White Rose Awards

Elmet Farmhouse – a unique holiday cottage perched on the hill at Pecket Well, near Hebden Bridge – has been shortlisted for Welcome to Yorkshire’s prestigious 2016 White Rose Awards.

One of only 7 self-catering properties in Yorkshire to make it to the finals, Elmet Farmhouse – an 18th century farmhouse with bespoke interiors and spectacular views – beat strong opposition to make it onto the shortlist. Newly-restored, this handsome Grade II Listed yeoman clothier’s house, with its beautiful stone mullion windows and quirky décor, has been attracting glowing reviews since its launch as a luxury holiday cottage 18 months ago.

Design Historian Lesley Jackson, who oversaw the restoration, said: “I was bowled over to hear that Elmet Farmhouse has been shortlisted for the White Rose Awards. The farmhouse is furnished in a highly unusual way with a mixture of vintage furniture and fabrics, and wonderful lamps and wallpapers by Hebden’s very own Hannah Nunn (www.hannahnunn.co.uk). Having stayed in many holiday cottages, I can honestly say that Elmet Farmhouse is a place like no other, inside and out! The view is simply breathtaking – like Turner in 3D – and features on the cover of Ted Hughes’s Remains of Elmet.”

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “Once again the entries for this year’s White Rose Awards have been exceptional across all categories, so a huge congratulations to those who have made the shortlist. As the largest celebration of tourism in the UK, the White Rose Awards are a fitting tribute to Yorkshire’s fantastically diverse businesses that work tirelessly to help to make the county number one.”

Two other Hebden Bridge organisations have also been shortlisted for the Awards: Hebden Bridge Arts Festival and Hebden Bridge Visitor Centre. But Elmet Farmhouse is the only holiday cottage in Calderdale to make it to the finals in the self-catering section, a particularly hotly contested field given the wealth of competition in nearby Haworth and the Yorkshire Dales.

“The countryside around Hebden Bridge is truly spectacular and incredibly varied with its steep valleys, hilltop hay meadows and heather moors,’ said Lesley Jackson. ‘I’m a keen walker so I really enjoy introducing our guests to the wonderful scenery in this hidden corner of Yorkshire. Visitors love exploring Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall with their unusual buildings, rich industrial heritage and creative vibe – not to mention Hardcastle Crags. It’s a winning formula. Elmet Farmhouse taps into this – it’s an experience in itself.’

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Elmet Farmhouse: www.elmetfarmhouse.co.uk

Twitter: @ElmetFarmhouse

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elmetfarmhouseyorkshireholidaycottage/

For more information and images, please contact Lesley Jackson:

Email: enquiries@elmetfarmhouse.co.uk   Tel. 01422 842026 / Mob. 07910 075952

Layout 1         WRA 2016 logo finalist

 

PRESS COVERAGE

‘Top Tourism Gongs up for Grabs’, Hebden Bridge Times, 7 July 2016

 

Hebden Bridge Times - 7 July 2016 jpeg

‘Local Farmhouse Shortlisted for 2016 White Rose Awards’, Hebweb (www.hebdenbridge.co.uk), 30 June 2016 – To read article, click here

10 Facts about Hebden Bridge

10 Fascinating Facts about Funky Hebden Bridge

 

 

1. Hebden Bridge used to be known as Fustianopolis because many of its textile mills specialised in fustian – the generic name for corduroy and moleskin. Hebden Bridge has also been described as Trouser Town because it became an important centre for garment-making, especially working mens’ trousers made from fustian cloth.

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Left: Canalside mill in Hebden Bridge.  Right: Fustian cutter’s blade sculpture in St George’s Square

2. Hebden Bridge was one of the earliest towns to embrace the Co-operative Movement, just a few years after the Rochdale Pioneers. The Hebden Bridge Fustian Manufacturing Society, based in Nutclough Mill, was the first co-operative mill in the UK. Community spirit and co-operative principles still characterise the town. Hebweb was the first community website in the UK.

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Left: Tower of Nutclough Mill.  Right: Workers’ housing in Hebden Bridge

3. Until the 19th century Hebden Bridge was much smaller and more insignificant than Heptonstall, the small village on the top of the hill. Whereas Heptonstall had been a flourishing cloth-making centre for centuries, Hebden Bridge was little more than a bridging point over Hebden Water for packhorses en route to Heptonstall via the Buttress (an incredibly steep stone-paved track). But following the industrial revolution, everything changed. Hebden Bridge expanded rapidly and the Calder Valley became a hub for large water-powered and steam-powered textile factories.

  

Left: 16th century bridge crossing Hebden Water.  Right: The Buttress

4. Because the Upper Calder Valley is so steep-sided, there’s very little space on the valley bottom for housing. When Hebden Bridge expanded during the 19th century, double-decker terraces were developed, consisting of underdwellings and overdwellings, running along the contours of the valley and up and down the slopes ‘Flying freeholds’ – another Hebden Bridge novelty – were introduced as a result.

  

Double-decker terraces in Hebden Bridge

5. Hebden Bridge boasts the highest proportion of independent shops per capita in the country, a distinction it shares with Totnes in Devon. From butchers and bakers to designer-makers, Hebden Bridge combines traditional businesses, such as ironmongers, haberdashery and and florists, with craft lighting, jewellery and organic food. It’s no surprise the town was crowned Best Small Market Town in the Great British High Street Awards in 2016.

  

  

Independent shops in Hebden Bridge

6. Hebden Bridge’s thriving food and general market, held each thursday, recently won the national award for Best Small Outdoor Market in the UK. It sells everything from fresh fish, local cheese and sourdough bread to toiletries, plants and fruit and veg. Hebden Bridge also has a flea market each friday, an artisan’s market on saturday and a local produce market on sunday.

  

Hebden Bridge Market

7. Mytholmroyd-born poet Ted Hughes retained life-long connections with Hebden Bridge. His book Remains of Elmet (1979), a collaboration with photographer Fay Godwin, is all about the Upper Calder Valley. Hughes’s parents lived in a house called The Beacon at Slack, near Heptonstall. His wife, the American poet Sylvia Plathwho committed suicide in 1963, is buried in Heptonstall Churchyard. Lumb Bank, an 18th century millowner’s house in Colden Clough formerly owned by Ted Hughes, is now a flourishing creative writing centre run by the Arvon Foundation.

Remains of Elmet - high res  

Left: Remains of Elmet.  Right: Lumb Bank

8. Internationally renowned photographer Martin Parr lived and worked in Hebden Bridge during the mid 1970s at the start of his career. His photographs from this period, focusing on the non-conformist chapels that once dominated this area, were recently published in a book called The Non-Conformists.  

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Left: Hope Chapel, Hebden Bridge.  Right: Birchcliffe Chapel, Hebden Bridge

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Left: Providence Chapel, Midgley.  Right: Heptonstall Methodist Chapel

9. World-famous singer songwriter Ed Sheeran spent his formative early childhood years in Hebden Bridge and seems to have absorbed its quirky, independent spirit. His parents lived in a house on Birchcliffe Road in Hebden Bridge at the time. Ed’s father  was a curator at Cartwright Hall in Bradford and his mother worked at Manchester City Art Gallery.

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Left: West Royd (left), Ed Sheeran’s early childhood home on Birchcliffe Road, Hebden Bridge. Right: Eiffel Tower opposite West Royd

10. Hebden Bridge and the Calder Valley are popular locations for film and TV dramas, both historical and contemporary. The picturesque village of Heptonstall recently appeared in Jericho and Swallows and Amazons, while Holdsworth House, a 17th century house in Halifax, was an important location in Last Tango in Halifax. Hebden Bridge features prominently in Happy Valley, which, like Last Tango, was written by BAFTA award-winning screenwriter Sally Wainwright, who grew up in Calderdale. Catherine Cawood, the feisty police officer in Happy Valley played by Sarah Lancashire, lives in a house on Hangingroyd Road in the centre of Hebden Bridge.

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Hebden Bridge – key location for Happy Valley. Left: Bridge Gate.  Right: Bridge Mill. 

  

Heptonstall – key location for ITV’s series Jericho and the film Swallows and Amazons

 

© Text and photos copyright Lesley Jackson

Higgledy Piggledy Hebden Houses

Higgledy Piggledy Hebden Houses

What strikes visitors when they first come to Hebden Bridge are the higgledy piggledy houses. Because of the narrowness of the valley and the steepness of the hillsides, very few houses are built  on the flat and they come in all sorts of irregular shapes and sizes. Quirky and unusual, Hebden Bridge’s architecture is as Non-Conformist as its prevailing religion.

 

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 Most of the buildings in Hebden Bridge date from the 19th century, when the town grew rapidly as a result of the flourishing textile industry. Terraced housing was the norm, as in other milltowns, to accommodate the rapidly expanding factory workforce. But whereas elsewhere in the industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire, the terraced houses were uniform and monotonous, Hebden Bridge’s precipitous slopes prompted builders to be more inventive and ingenious.

 

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The contours of the valley give a highly distinctive character to the urban landscape of Hebden Bridge, as many terraces run diagonally up and down the hills. Because the valley bottom is so constricted and usable land was in such short supply, this prompted builders to opt for high-rise solutions – terraces in the sky. As well as being unusually tall – five storeys were not uncommon – some terraces were tapered or wedge-shaped.

 

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Double-decker terraces – comprising of underdwellings and overdwellings – are a Hebden Bridge speciality. Both open onto the street but at completely different levels. A unqiue form of property ownership, known as flying freeholds, developed in response to these two-part dwellings.

 

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The wealth generated in Hebden Bridge by the fustian industry and the garment-making trade during the late 19th century prompted the building of larger houses for textile magnates and other affluent tradespeople. Birchcliffe, the steep road rising up from the centre of the town, has some good examples of these splendid properties, many with stained glass, decorative stonework or curious features such as towers.

 

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High retaining walls and embankments are another distinctive feature of the town, all built of the same locally quarried sandstone – millstone grit – adding to the impression that the town emerged spontaneously out of the landscape.  Although it grew rapidly in a piecemeal fashion, there is an organic quality to its architecture that is unique to Hebden Bridge.

 

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© Text and photos copyright Lesley Jackson

Striding up Stoodley Pike

Stoodley Pike and the Mysterious Mists of Mankinholes

 

 

Stoodley Pike is such a prominent landmark in the Upper Calder Valley that it deserves special attention. Perched on the hilltop at 1300ft (400 metres) half way between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden, it is visible throughout the area and can be clearly seen on the horizon from Elmet Farmhouse at Pecket Well. A huge stone obelisk measuring 121 ft, it sits on a ridge  at Langfield Common on the route of the Pennine Way.

Built to commemorate the end of the Napoleonic Wars,  Stoodley Pike was initially erected in 1815 following Wellington’s triumph over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. The original monument collapsed in 1854 after being struck by lightning, but it was rebuilt two years later by public subscription to designs by a local architect called James Green. A lightning conductor was added in 1889.

By strange coincidence, the day the original monument collapsed in 1854 coincided with the outbreak of the Crimean War and it was after peace was restored in 1856 that Stoodley Pike was rebuilt. Its significance as a symbol of peace was later highlighted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, who painted a large CND logo on the monument during the 1970s. Although subsequently removed, vestiges of this symbol can still be seen close up.

The above sequence of photos records an early morning walk from Mankinholes to Stoodley Pike on 18 February 2016. At 8 am it was cold and sunny with a heavy frost. An hour later, swathes of mist appeared on the hills above Todmorden, clinging to Langfield Common near the neighbouring village of Lumbutts.

 

© Text and photographs copyright Lesley Jackson