- Architectural Gems
- Art & Design at Elmet
- Barry the Barn Owl
- Birds & Wildlife
- Bronte Sisters
- Fay Godwin & Martin Parr
- Film and TV Locations
- Galleries & Museums
- Gentleman Jack
- Hardcastle Crags
- Hay Meadows
- Hebden Bridge
- Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade
- Hebden-Born and Bred
- Local Countryside
- Mid-Century Modern
- Ted Hughes & Sylvia Plath
- Yorkshire Dales
- Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal
- Hebden Bridge Handmade Parade
- Gentleman Jack
- Saltaire UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Birds of many Feathers
- Mid-Century Modern Design
- Brimham Rocks
- The Old Ways – Limers Gate
- Architectural Gems of Leeds
- Glorious Gardens
- Piece Hall Halifax
- Bingley Five Rise Locks
- Heavenly Heather
- Walk on the Wild Side at Widdop
- Hiking in Hardcastle Crags
- Deer oh Deer!
- Making Hay while the Sun Shines
- Jumble Hole Clough
- Bluebell Bonanza
- Purple Haze
- Bilberry Stories
- Whoosh! Castle Carr Fountain
- Lovely Little Lambs
- River of Mist
- Delve into the Dales
- It’s Cold in Colden!
- 10 Facts about Hebden Bridge
- Parcevall Hall Gardens
- Higgledy Piggledy Hebden Houses
- Striding up Stoodley Pike
- Autumn in Luddenden Dean
- Marvellous Mid-Century Fabrics
- Hebden Bridge
- Ted Hughes and Remains of Elmet
- Barry the Barn Owl
The Handmade Parade is one of the highlights of the annual Hebden Bridge Arts Festival held in the town each June. Organised by a team of professional carnival artists, puppeteers, makers, musicians, stilt walkers and performers, the Handmade Parade brings together local schools and community groups from throughout the Upper Calder Valley in a vibrant and colourful spectacle.
Handmade Parade 2019
Handmade Parade 2016
© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick
Anne Lister (1791 – 1840) of Shibden Hall, near Halifax – whose story is told in the major BBC TV series Gentleman Jack – was a remarkable woman; a landowner, business woman, diarist, mountaineer and traveller.
Celebrated today as the ‘first modern lesbian’, the diaries kept by Anne Lister from her teenage years until her death at the age of 49 run to around 5 million words. Tall and boyish, she dressed in black and wore her hair in tight curls on either side of her face. With her neck ruff, stout boots, black coat and round hat (rather than a bonnet) she looked distinctly masculine. Nicknamed ‘Captain Tom Lister’ locally during her lifetime, she was later referred to as “Gentleman Jack”.
Anne’s diary entries chronicle her daily life, as well as social, political and economic events and her business interests. Approximately one sixth of the diaries are written in code. This clever combination of Greek letters and algebraic symbols was referred to by Anne as her ‘crypt hand’. The crypt hand entries describe quite graphically Anne’s deepest emotions, her private affairs and relationships with a number of women, including the tactics she used for seduction.
Born on 3 April 1791, Anne Lister lived at Shibden Hall, 2 miles outside Halifax, from 1815 until her death in 1840. As well as rent from farms and cottages, the Shibden estate drew income from its reserves of coal, water, stone and timber. Further income was generated from canal shares, turnpike road trusts and pew rents. Anne inherited the estate in 1836 after the death of her Father and Aunt and made great changes to both Shibden Hall and the estate, adding to their size and grandeur.
Following a series of intimate relationships with female friends over the years, which often ended unhappily, Anne was keen to find a ‘wife’ to live with her at Shibden Hall. In 1832 Anne became reacquainted with Ann Walker, a wealthy young heiress who had inherited the nearby Crow Nest Estate. Their friendship developed rapidly, the two became lovers and Ann Walker came to live at Shibden Hall in 1834.
Anne Lister’s story is told in an 8-part BBC/HBO co-production called Gentleman Jack, starring Suranne Jones as Anne Lister and Sophie Rundle as Ann Walker. Written by BAFTA award-winning screenwriter Sally Wainwright (of Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax fame), who grew up in Calderdale, Gentleman Jack was filmed at Shibden Hall and the surrounding area. For more information about the film locations used in the series, please click here.
Shibden Hall, which dates back to the 15th century, is run by Calderdale Museums and is open to visit. For further information about Shibden Hall, please click here
Saltaire near Shipley – only 16 miles from Elmet Farmhouse – is great place for a day out. A model village built in the mid 19th century by the philanthropic industrialist Sir Titus Salt (1803-1876), it was created to provide high-quality housing for the thousands of workers at Salt’s Mill, his huge complex of textile factories next to the River Aire.
Almost every aspect of this extraordinary development was the brainchild of this visionary man, from the magnificent Italianate Salt’s Mill (1853) designed by Lockwood and Mawson, to the elegant Congregational Church (1859) with its circular tower, and the imposing Saltaire Institute, 1869, flanked by four majestic carved stone lion sculptures by Thomas Milnes. Saltaire is so unusual and well-preserved that the whole village has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Take a walk around the village and admire the handsome stone terraced houses designed in a variety of different styles. Don’t miss the shops and cafes on Victoria Road in Saltaire Village and the regular vintage fairs in the grand Victoria Hall. There’s more to see in Roberts Park (opened in 1871) across the footbridge over the river, where you can watch the cricket, stroll along the promenade, listen to the band or take tea in the Half Moon Cafe. Nearby Shipley Glen Tramway, dating from 1895, is open during the summer months.
Although the textile industry is long gone, Salt’s Mill has been resurrected as an exciting cultural and creative hub. Beautifully restored, it houses a dynamic complex of galleries, shops and restaurants, including two enormous bookshops, an antiques centre, a buzzing diner and a design shop called The Home.
A unique feature of Salt’s Mill are the hundreds of works of art by multi-talented Bradford-born artist David Hockney, informally displayed all over the building. Hockney’s work is lively and colourful, and the work on show spans his long and varied career, including paintings, prints, photomontages and posters, as well as his latest digital paintings created using an ipad.
Complementing Hockney’s vibrant paintings is an exuberant collection of Victorian ceramics made by the Burmantofts Pottery in Leeds. Decorated with brightly-coloured glazes, these large pots are a visual delight and reflect another aspect of the creativity in the West Riding.
Saltaire’s Textile Heritage
Saltaire’s textile heritage is recorded in a fascinating series of paintings by Leeds-born artist Henry Carr R.A. illustrating textile manufacturing processes. Specially commissioned by Salt’s Mill between 1957-59, many of the paintings are on unusual irregular-shaped canvases. They accurately record each stage of the manufacturing process, from sorting, scouring and combing the wool, to spinning the yarn and weaving the cloth, to dyeing and inspecting the fabric. Recently restored, these wonderful paintings are now displayed in various parts of the mill.
Salt’s Mill, Saltaire BD18 3LA. Tel 01274 531163. www.saltsmill.org.uk
Saltaire Village: www.saltairevillage.info/
© Text and photographs copyright Lesley Jackson
Birds of many feathers flock together in the hills and dales around Hebden Bridge
Whether you’re a serious birdwatcher or simply enjoy observing garden birds, there’s a wealth of birdlife in the hills and dales around Hebden Bridge. Because of its hilltop location, Elmet Farmhouse is the perfect place for birdwatching. Surrounded by meadows, with woods and rivers in the valley below and open moorland on the uplands above, there’s an unusually diverse array of species in close proximity.
From golden plovers, lapwings and curlews up on ‘the tops’, to kestrels, swallows and pheasants in the fields, to woodpeckers, tawny owls and treecreepers in the woods and herons, dippers and grey wagtails by the river, there’s great scope for bird-watching in the Upper Calder Valley. These photos record some of the birds we’ve encountered locally in the last few years.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
For up to date news about sightings by keen local birdwatchers, visit Calderdale Birds
© Photos copyright Lesley Jackson and Ian Fishwick
MidCentury Design Delights at Elmet Farmhouse
Elmet Farmhouse is full of surprises. That’s why our guests enjoy it so much, because every room contains unexpected design delights. Wherever you go, there are inspiring things to look at, not just in the living room but in the kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms as well.
An intriguing mixture of ancient and modern, the interiors blend original 18th century features with choice vintage and contemporary design. A holiday cottage like no other, Elmet Farmhouse is wonderfully quirky and totally unique.
Mid-Century Modern Textiles
One of the most popular features at Elmet are the striking vintage fabrics used throughout the farmhouse for curtains, cushions and textile hangings. Specially chosen by design historian Lesley Jackson, who decorated and ‘curated’ the interiors, the fabrics date from the 1950s and 60s, an extremely rich period for textile design.
Highlights include the magnificent Edinburgh Weavers curtains and cushions in the living room, screen-printed with an arresting large-scale design called Kalabu, dating from the late 1960s. The heavy linen cloth was woven at Edinburgh Weavers’ mill in Carlisle and the fabric was printed in Lancaster by their sister company, Standfast Dyers and Printers, who are still going strong today.
Hanging on the wall in the lounge is a delightful stylised leaf-patterned fabric by Joan Charnley, a local designer who studied at Manchester School of Art and designed for Edinburgh Weavers. Hand screen-printed on rayon by the designer herself, it reflects the early post-war ‘Contemporary’ design aesthetic associated with Lucienne Day.
Upstairs in the front bedroom are some beautiful chintz curtains hand screen-printed by Hull Traders, an outstanding local company based less than 20 miles away at Trawden, near Colne. The pattern is called Rose Branch and was designed by Guy Irwin in 1958.
The deer and leaf-patterned printed fabric hanging on the wall in the front bedroom is by David Whitehead, another important Lancashire firm based not far away at Rawtenstall. Designed by Cawthra Mulock in 1955, it epitomises the vibrant colours and dynamic graphic style of the post-war era.
Elmet Farmhouse features two impressive ‘Textureprints’ by Hungarian-born textile designer Tibor Reich, produced in the mid 1950s for his company Tibor. A long length of Coral, a striking black and grey design with overlapping organic motifs, hangs in the attic stairwell.
Some of these textiles are available to buy through our Etsy shop: MidcenturyFabrics. To visit the shop and see the current catalogue, click here
Mid-Century Modern Furniture
Elmet Farmhouse also contains a fine collection of MidCentury Modern furniture. Ercol – one of the leading British furniture manufacturers of the post-war period – features prominently. There’s a comfortable armchair from Ercol’s Windsor Contemporary range next to the fireplace in the living room. An Ercol classic dating from 1953, the 203 Bergere Easy Chair was specially re-upholstered at the Ercol factory in Buckinghamshire, which is still going strong today.
Upstairs in the bedrooms and bathrooms are two more Ercol icons, the 369 Goldsmith’s Dining Chair and the 400 Chair, dating from 1957-58. Made from a combination of beech and elm, both have the familiar Ercol stick backs, inspired by traditional Windsor chairs. The 400 Chair, a descendant of Ercol’s legendary 4A Chair developed for the Utility furniture scheme during the Second World War, features Ercol’s trademark steam-bent bow frame.
Elmet Farmhouse also contains some choice pieces of Scandinavian Modern furniture in warm-coloured natural wood. The beech-framed stick-back Kadett Sofa in the living room is by O&M Design for the Danish firm Skippers Mobler. This piece dates from the 1990s but was inspired by Borge Mogensen’s Spokeback Sofa, conceived in 1945.
The stylish Arild Sideboard was designed by Nils Jonsson for the Swedish firm Troeds in 1961. Made of teak, the sleek form of this long low credenza displays the clean lines of post-war Modernist design. It is complemented by the light oak wall cabinet in the opposite corner of the room. Made by the Danish company Faarup Mobler, it was designed the architect Ib Kofod Larsen, who also did freelance work for the G-Plan in the 1960s.
All the natural beech cupboards, draw units and bookcases in the bedrooms and attic shower room are also Danish. The multi-coloured Chest of Drawers in the attic was designed by Frank Guille for Austinsuite in the 1960s. This piece has been upcycled by a vintage furniture dealer, each drawer painted a different colour, which is rather fun.
Many of the designers and manufacturers displayed in Elmet Farmhouse are featured in Lesley Jackson’s books on post-war textiles, furniture and design. You can peruse these publications in Elmet’s library during your stay and some are available to buy.
20th Century Pattern Design: Textile and Wallpaper Pioneers by Lesley Jackson (Mitchell Beazley)
Alastair Morton and Edinburgh Weavers: Visionary Textiles and Modern Art by Lesley Jackson (V&A Publishing)
Shirley Craven and Hull Traders: Revolutionary Fabrics and Furniture 1957-1980 by Lesley Jackson (Antique Collectors’ Club)
Robin and Lucienne Day: Pioneers of Contemporary Design by Lesley Jackson (Mitchell Beazley)
Ercol: Furniture in the Making by Lesley Jackson (Richard Dennis Publications)
Modern British Furniture: Design Since 1945 by Lesley Jackson (V&A Publishing)
‘Contemporary’ Architecture and Interiors of the 1950s by Lesley Jackson (Phaidon)
The Sixties: Decade of Design Revolution by Lesley Jackson (Phaidon)
© Text and photographs copyright Lesley Jackson
Rocking out at Brimham
The weird and wonderful rock formations at Brimham Rocks are one of the geological marvels of Yorkshire. Sculpted by the elements over hundreds of millions of years, they loom up out of the heather moorland high up above Nidderdale near Pateley Bridge.
Defying gravity, these monumental sandstone forms were once thought to man-made, so curious and unlikely are their shapes. But their extraordinary sculptural forms are an entirely natural phenomenon, the result of abrasion and erosion by wind, rain and ice.
Dotted in clusters over 400 acres, it takes several hours to see all rocks – and longer if you want to climb up on top or explore their nooks and crannies. Each rock is different in character and they completely change in shape when viewed from different angles.
A firm favourite with children, a challenge for climbers and a delight for naturalists, Brimham Rocks is managed by the National Trust and provides a great day out from Elmet Farmhouse. Geologists will be in seventh heaven and artists and photographers will be inspired.
Text and photographs copyright Lesley Jackson
2018 has been one of the snowiest winters we have ever known, with repeated snowfall from January right through to April. In late February and March we were hit by two onslaughts from the Beast from the East (see snow sculpture portrait below) bringing icy blasts straight from Siberia. The combination of blizzards and strong winds caused deep snowdrifts on roads and footpaths, so our guests in Elmet Farmhouse were (happily) snowed in for several days.
The snow proved a big hit with our February half-term guests, who borrowed our vintage wooden sledge. The gently sloping fields at Elmet Farmhouse are ideal for sledging. Many of our visitors come from parts of the country which rarely see snow, whereas for us, 1000 ft up on top of the Pennines, it’s a fairly regular occurrence during the winter months. This year has been exceptional though and we’re not even sure whether we’ve seen the last of it yet. The last snowfall was over Easter.
© Text and photos copyright Lesley Jackson
An invigorating early morning hike from Elmet Farmhouse to watch the sunrise on Limers Gate above the village of Pecket Well. Crisp snow, blue skies and pinkish light on the hills beyond Crimsworth Dean.
Initially climbing up onto Wadsworth Moor along Deer Stones Edge, then up to the trig point at High Brown Knoll, which has been painted with a red heart. From here, walking along Limers Gate in fairly deep snow, the path rather difficult to follow. Amazingly clear views all the way to Upper and Lower Gorple Reservoirs and beyond to Widdop Reservoir, the dam clearly visible covered in snow and the water bright blue.
Dropping down off the ridge to Wilcock Dam, wonderful colour contrasts between the orange grass and the pristine white snow, the dam astonishingly vivid blue. Sublime views of Heptonstall and Stoodley Pike during the descent to Pecket Well.
7 February 2018
Architectural Gems of Leeds
Leeds is a splendid Victorian city with a treasure trove of colourful flamboyant buildings dating from the late 19th and early 20th century. Architectural highlights include the Leeds Corn Exchange with its domed wooden roof resembling the hull of a boat, designed by Cuthbert Brodrick in 1864.
The stunning County Arcade designed by theatre architect Frank Matcham, built between 1898-1904, is one of several well-preserved Victorian shopping arcades in Leeds. The glazed faience decoration that adorns the interior of this arcade was made by the local firm of Burmantofts.
The terracotta cladding on the facade of nearby Leeds City Market on Kirkgate is also very spectacular. Designed by Joseph and John Leeming in 1904, the market hall’s cast-iron structure is painted in polychrome. The market itself is one of the most vibrant in the UK.
On the other side of the city is Leeds Civic Hall with its dazzling golden owls, a late Art Deco building designed by Vincent Harris dating from 1931-3.
Dominating the Headrow is the imposing Leeds Town Hall, another highly ornate Victorian building designed by Cuthbert Brodrick, built between 1853-8.
Next door is Leeds Art Gallery, whose newly-restored top-lit galleries provide a stunning setting for its excellent collection of 20th century paintings and sculpture. The Art Gallery’s fabulous Victorian tiled café is not to be missed.
On the other side of the Headrow in the elegant setting of Park Square is St Paul’s House. A Victorian warehouse and cloth cutting works designed in the Moorish-Venetian style by Thomas Ambler in 1878, this extraordinary building is another of the architectural gems of Leeds.