Happy 500th Birthday to Hebden Bridge.
The packhorse bridge over Hebden Water originated in 1510 and if you needed an excuse to visit this quirkly town in Calderdale the year long birthday celebrations may be what you were waiting for.
When the Industrial Revolution descended on Hebden Bridge the hill sides were too steep for the area to loose its identity. The domestic activity of cloth manufacture and early ready made clothing thrived. This can still be seen in a row of houses called Machpelah, named after the Baptist minister, with special small windows for fustian cutting.
Fustian is a thick, twilled, short napped, cotton cloth used mainly for men’s wear. The active historical society at Hebden Bridge has an interesting article about a Fustian factory strike at the turn of the 20th century.
- There is a lot to see in the town but do not miss a trip up Hardcastle Crags a National Trust Property which they claim is a ‘Beautiful wooded valley with 19th-century Gibson Mill at its heart, an exemplar of sustainable energy’.
- Heptonstall is linked to Hebden Bridge by the Buttress, a narrow pack-horse track paved with setts and as precipitous as any East cost village like Staithes, Robin Hood’s or Runswick Bays.
- Midgehole is the start of several enjoyable walks and with a name like that who can resist.
- In an evening there are many pubs including the White Lion dating from 1657 or the more modern art deco 1920′s Picture House.
- Take a walk or evening stroll along the canal or alongside the river Calder.
- When you are tired of walking there are mountain bike trails and some great hill climbs for the avid cyclist. perhaps your bbike was bought or hired from this cycle shop.
David Hockney galleries, a Round Church, a Reed Organ museum and a model village are just some of the highlights to savor on a trip to Saltaire. The village was founded in 1853 by Sir Titus Salt for the workers in the mill and their families. It included neat stone houses with running water, a hospital, an Institute for recreation and education now called Victoria Hall where music and dance events are staged. The village also provided almshouses, allotments, a park and a boathouse which was recently damaged in a fire.
Sir Titus was a canny philanthropist siting his massive mill complex between the river Aire and the Leeds Liverpool canal alongside a railway station that is still open on the Leeds to Settle line. To get staff to move over 10 miles from Bradford he needed to make some facilities available but the model village has stood the test of time and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The mill has fantastic vaulted ceilings and stone slabs for flooring that would pull down many modern buildings. The space is now used by the NHS, an electronics manufacturer but mostly as a unique exhibition and retail space. As the UK home for displaying David Hockney’s works the mill has 3 floors of singular works by this artist from telephone book covers to Opera sets, photographic montages to paintings in several mediums. Interspersed are retail opportunities notably specials book sales and 3 eateries. The whole facility exudes quality and this is replicated on their web site
The Saltaire streets are given girls names that are reminiscent of a gone by era like Maud Street and Grace Street. (Sorry if these are popular modern names but I doubt that somehow)
Saltaire Church by JohnSeb CC BY-SA 2.0