We publish 2 newsletters each year, one in April featuring reports of the last season's lectures and one in September previewing the following season's lectures. Short articles on local and family history are usually included. These can accessed here.

CURRENT NEWS December 2023

After some well attended meetings we reach our last lecture before the Christmas break on 13th December.

Jane Jackson will be telling us about the history of Town Twinning in Hebden Royd

Jane Jackson’s first degree was a BA in History from Leeds University awarded in 1968. She moved to Hebden Bridge in 2009 and joined both the HBLHS and the Hebden Bridge Twinning Society, of which she us now Secretary/Communications Manager.

This will be followed in January by

Hebden Bridge Little Theatre: an illustrated history 1924 – 2024 by Vaughan Leslie on Jan 10 2024

Vaughan Leslie has been a member of the Little Theatre since 1987 as a frequent actor, director, and in numerous other capacities.

Jowett: the Yorkshire car by Barbara Atack on Wed Jan 24 2024

Barbara Atack has long associations with HBLHS especially as its hard-working President. She is also the membership secretary of the Jowett Car Club. Barbara, together with her late husband, owned several Jowett cars over the years and travelled with them throughout the British Isles and as far afield as France and Spain.

More details of these and future lectures are on the website

The Mytholmroyd Historical Society has its AGM on 8th December with refreshments and 2 local talks by members

And then on 12th January, David Cant will be talking about the Magic of Castle Carr

Todmorden AntiquarianSociety have various upcoming events - details here

Calderdale Heritage Walks winter walks continue with an interesting series of walks up and down the valley

Is there anyone out there who is interested in the history of Amateur Rugby League?

I have had a message from Paul Field about a heritage project he is starting for the Calderdale Community Coaching Trust on the "History of amateur Rugby League in Halifax and District. He is keen to speak with any members who have personal or family memories of Rugby League in the area. This is his email address is you would like to make contact.

Another interesting contact: “My name is Dr Joseph Quinn, and I work for "Their Finest Hour" Project, a nationwide digital history project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and run by the University of Oxford.

“Our aim is to digitally preserve the stories and physical heritage from the Second World War era which is kept by the UK public and store this in a free-to-use online archive for the use of future generations.

As part of our project, we are coordinating over 70 events throughout the UK - these events are known as Digital Collection Days (DCD). At one of our DCDs, people are invited to bring along objects, photos, documents and other physical items from the Second World War era, as well as stories that connect them all, to be digitized and uploaded to our online archive.”

There is a DCD event at Halifax Central Library on Monday 4th December 10.30 -6 in the Archives

CURRENT NEWS September 2023

September and the start of our year at the society.

The Autumn Newsletter should have reached you in the last couple of weeks and the lecture series begins at the end of September. As with the last two years the talks will be live at the Methodist Church at 7.30pm and a Vimeo recording made available for a couple of weeks afterwards.

There is an interesting and varied lecture programme awaiting and details are on the society website

Wednesday 27th September - Andrew Bibby starts us off with a lecture about the early co-operative housing movement and how Hebden Bridge played a part in it. The years before the First World War saw a widespread co-operative and community-led housing movement across Britain at a time of great working-class housing need. Andrew Bibby describes the small but significant role Hebden Bridge played in how the movement developed.

Andrew Bibby is a writer and journalist who has a particular interest in the history of the co-operative movement in Britain. A long-standing member of HBLHS, he has given talks to the society previously on Hebden Bridge’s celebrated Nutclough fustian co-operative and on the 1916 garment workers’ strike in the town. He has recently published These Houses are Ours - a history of the co-operative housing movement.

This is followed on 11 October 2023 with a talk by Sheila Graham

A melting season: inside the mind of Oliver Heywood

The Reverend Oliver Heywood, a prominent 17th century dissenter, was a prolific commentator on events and people in Halifax. Not one to be bound by the convention of speaking no ill of the dead, he was incisive and opinionated, with a marked preference for scurrilous gossip. But a study of his collected notebooks and diaries permits an insight into the mind of the man and his view of the world.

Sheila Graham is a retired English teacher, member of HBLHS committee and transcription addict. A decade of transcribing 17th century probate documents from the parish of Halifax often involved checking the Heywood diaries to see if there was a mention of one of the testators. The suspended time of lock-down offered the chance to explore his diaries more systematically to discover what made him tick.

Northowram History Society has published her booklet on the subject.

And this weekend there are a number of events.

Hebden Bridge Little Theatre, An Illustrated History 1924-2024

Hebden Bridge Little Theatre will be a hundred years old in 2024 and is planning celebrations and special events to mark the occasion. To commemorate the event, they have published a definitive history of the theatre, from its foundation in 1924, to the present day. The book chronicles the theatre’s highs and lows, with particular focus on the personalities who made the theatre such a vital part of the local community. This full-colour, 100-page volume is richly illustrated with over 200 photos and is priced at just £15. You can buy your copy of this souvenir publication at the theatre on Sunday 3rd September, at an open afternoon, from 2-4pm. Refreshments will also be provided. If you can’t make this date, contact for other ways to purchase the book.

Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival is also this weekend – 2nd and 3rd September. Details via this link

Heritage Open Days start from 7th September through to 20th September with many events and free entry to historical buildings in Calderdale. Details on this link

Our local societies have some upcoming talks/events.

The Lit and Sci next lecture is by Professor John Wright: Born in Bradford – can a research study change a city Saturday 30th September at Hebden Bridge Town Hall 7.30pm

Mytholmroyd Historical Society: Their first lecture of the season is on 8th September**. Glenda Shaw will tell us about her uncle Percy Shaw, (Reflective Roadstuds).

Square Chapel Halifax – Illustrated Historical Presentations

By David Glover Wednesdays - all at 2.15 pm which run through to Christmas.

The next two are:

Weds 13th September - Unwrapping Square Chapel’s 250 Years Starting with the founder, Congregational minister Titus Knight, David traces a fascinating story. This presentation is for Halifax Heritage Festival.

Weds 20th September - Barry’s Masterpiece? The Making of Halifax Town Hall Our oldest civic building, designed by Sir Charles Barry, is a purpose-built Italianate Town Hall


Calderdale Heritage Walks continue with an interesting series of walks.

Sunday 17th September West Vale from 1300 to the present led by Ian Philp

Sunday 1st October Crossleys, the inventors and their influence on West Halifax led by David Glover

Sunday 8th October 2023 FIELDENTOWN The Fielden family left its mark on Todmorden in many ways including work, religion, education and leisure. This walk around Todmorden explores the story of the Fieldens looking at many of the fine buildings they left us and some of the places where they lived and worked. suitable for dogs. Led by Anne Mealia

**And lastly- are you a keen photographer? **The British Association of Local History has a competition open to all

Your chance to take part in our 2023 quest to find some great local history images from around Britain. This year's theme is "Up my street", where we would like to see your view, around where you live, work or study, within the context of local history. Your image could focus on a street view, a building, some street furniture or some little details on a wall or the ground You may submit up to three photographs to the competition. Entry is open until midnight on Monday 11th September 2023. Use this link to enter


It seems to be all about the Coiners at the moment.

The Gallows Pole dramatisation is available on BBC iplayer.

Steve Hartley (descendant of David Hartley) has a new book out called The Yorkshire Coiners; the true story of the Cragg Vale Gang and this Saturday 10th June he will be giving a talk at Heptonstall Museum 1pm to 3pm. Entry £5 or free to members. Booking required.

Heptonstall Museum, Bankfield and Central Library also have displays about the coiners.

‘What Are The Railways For?’ You may be interested in a 30 minute documentary that was broadcast on the BBC in early June. It is about railways in the North and how they are used. There are a few references to the Calder Valley including from our member Diana Monahan who was interviewed about the use made of the railways by tourists in Hebden Bridge. It is available on BBC sounds.

Our local societies have some upcoming talks/events.

The Lit and Sci next lecture is: Dara McAnulty: The Young Naturalist In Conversation with Amanda Dalton Friday 14th July 2023 • Hebden Bridge Town Hall • 8pm (Bar open 7pm) £10 BOOK Details can be found here

Calderdale Industrial Museum The museum will be hosting a performance by The Brutish Multitude Theatre Company of a script in hand version of a new play by Michael Crowley on Sunday 6th August 2023. Waiting for Wesley is set in the Calder Valley in the summer of 1842 when a wave of strikes engulfed Lancashire and Yorkshire. As well as demanding a reversal of wage cuts, many workers demanded the government give way to the People’s Charter and introduce universal male suffrage. Supporters of ‘physical force’ Chartism were numerous in the area, Hebden Bridge Radical Association declared its belief in “the justice and right of the people to possess arms in their defence.” Thousands of troops confronted strikers, killing five and wounding many more. The play focuses on one family as tensions mount as a husband and wife are torn between allegiance to the church and organising the rebellion. Performance at 3pm, doors open at 2pm. Waiting for Wesley Tickets, Sun 6 Aug 2023 at 15:00 | Eventbrite

Cragg Vale Local History Group The next event is a guided tour of Dean Clough. Contact details in this link

Calderdale Heritage Walks continue with an interesting series of walks. Here some walks coming up Sunday 11th June Stories from lower Shibden houses including Shibden Mill Inn led by Mike Beecham Saturday 17th June Anne Lister means business in 1830s Halifax led by Jill Liddington followed by tea, cake and Q & A 2.30 start Sunday 25th June Lightcliffe in the 19th century led by Ian Philp Sat 1st & Sun 2nd July Outlaws and Nuns. Walks on the Kirklees Estate. Pre-booking essential Sunday 9th July Bogden to Slitheroe the lost valley of Ryburn led by Anne Kirker Sunday 30th July Midgley Moor: An extended walk led by John Billingsley: prehistory, folklore, custom, economy, geography and climate


After a very successful lecture series with many members coming to the live talks and a continued interest in watching the talks via vimeo we move on to summer events, an extra bank holiday and, hopefully, some warm weather.

The Spring Newsletter was sent out to members on 10th April via email with accounts of all the talks in the 22/23 season.

There was also a message from Rachel on behalf of the Management Committee about the Autumn Newsletter. Please respond if you have not already done so about whether we stay with a printed version for the Autumn publication or move to a Pdf version via e mail.

Coronation Celebrations at the Parish Church 6th-8th May St James’ is celebrating the Coronation of King Charles III. The church will be decorated, including Coronation-themed flower arrangements and there will be an exhibition about Prince Charles’ visits to Hebden Bridge and how Hebden Bridge has celebrated past Coronations. If you have any photos or memories of Prince Charles’ visits or past Coronations to share or want to get involved, please contact or call at the church during the Foodshare (weekdays 2:30-3:30pm).

6th May St James’ only has one bell which can be rung. If you want to try ringing, please go to the church after 10 am but before 11am (when the Coronation begins.)

7th May Join in with The Big Lunch. This is a nationwide initiative and at St James' we are having a foodshare, a Potluck lunch and fun with our local community. Crowns available.

8th May On this day there is a nationwide initiative called The Big Help Out. ( If you are involved with a group and want to publicise it at St James’ or run an activity in or from the church on that day, please get in touch.

Dreaming Valleys 2

On a different note John Billingsley of our folklore group has sent me information of an event at the Birchcliffe Centre on 3rd June . Back in 2020, in the last days before lockdown, Northern Earth presented a ground-breaking conference comprising a melange of folklore, archaeology, geography, phenomenology and psychogeography, presented through talks, film, music and sideshow. Following the Covid hiatus, we’re back with other partners to present "Dreaming Valleys 2”

Enquiries can be directed to or via the ticket site, where you will find more details. Tickets are available on Eventbrite

Our local societies have some upcoming talks/events.

Mytholmroyd Historical Society The society have a tour planned on 9th June (for members only) A stroll to Redacre a guided tour around the Redacre area of Mytholmroyd + refreshments – led by Lynda Thomas.

Cragg Vale Local History Group Their next talk on May 18th at St John’s Church, 7.30 is Researching the history of your house by Barbara Atack

Calderdale Industrial Museum The next talk, by Brian Harkness, is Edward Crossley’s Two Very Famous Telescopes on Wednesday 10th May.

Calderdale Heritage Walks have a new summer programme Here are the next 4: Sunday 30th April 2023 Exploring Hove Edge led by Ian Philp Sunday 7th May 2023 A walk around Copley led by Steve Crabtree Sunday 14th May 2023 Mytholmroyd Meander led by David Cant Sunday 14th May 2023 Death, Danger and Disease in Todmorden led by Anne Mealia

Enews extra 9th February 2023 We have recently received a copy of: A History of Crimsworth Dene in the Nineteenth Century by J.D. Smith.

We have been advised of a limited reprinting (40 copies) of the above book that was originally written in 1972. The author undertook a lot of document research and the book covers a number of topics including oral history about farming, farms in the valley, handloom weaving, the toll road to Keighley and a projected railway from Hebden Bridge to Keighley. It includes some black and white images and is available from the Bookcase in Hebden Bridge at £10.

CURRENT NEWS January 2023

The New Year began with two very interesting talks and it was good to see so many members braving the cold and meeting up for the live lectures. As usual the talks are available for a fortnight on the vimeo link.

Our next two lectures are on very contrasting topics:

Wednesday February 8th at 7.30pm Anne Mealia will be revealing Scandal! Local cases before the bawdy courts 1516 – 1848. Find out about people appearing before the ecclesiastical courts and some of the more scandalous aspects of life in our community in past centuries as well as details of people’s lives, relationships and the things they argued about.

Anne Mealia is a professional genealogist, historical researcher and a committee member of our society. She leads local historical walks and her own research interests include the Fieldens and the Dobroyd area of Todmorden.

This is followed on Wednesday February 22nd with a talk by Peter Robinson on Calderdale Industrial Museum: a guide to its history from a personal perspective. Peter’s talk will cover some of the early history of the building in Square Road, Halifax before it was converted for use as an industrial museum. He will examine some of the issues faced by the museum and its re-opening by a group of volunteers for the public benefit. Finally, he will offer some insight into the areas within the museum that he has been most closely involved with and offer some glimpses of highlights yet to come.

Peter Robinson is a founder member of the Calderdale Industrial Museum Association, Vice President and long-time Treasurer of the Halifax Antiquarian Society and has written many articles on the industrial history of Calderdale.

***Coming this weekend *** Local Book Launch ***

Andrew Bibby, one of our members, has a launch for his new book. Here are the details:

I’ll be delighted if you’re able to come to an informal short event I’m organising, to mark the publication of the book I have been working on over the past twelve months or so. The event is on Sat Feb 4th, 5pm-6pm, in the Café area of the Hebden Bridge Town Hall. Wine/soft drinks etc. My book describes the early history of affordable working-class housing for rent in the years up to the First World War. The years before 1919 saw the development of a widespread housing movement in Britain which delivered housing, generally on ‘garden village’ principles, through co-operative and community-led endeavour. There are details at

British Association for Local History.

David Cant has provided the following information about the BALH and how you can access their news and talks. As a member of a society which belongs to the British Association for Local History, our members have discounted access to events. For example, there are two webinars on using digital resources in February and March. HBLHS also receives the quarterly journals The Local Historian and Local History News, published in January, April, July and October. These are available at our archive at the Birchcliffe Centre. More information about BALH from where you can sign up to receive their e-news.

Hebden Bridge Lit and Sci have a talk on 25th February to interest your taste buds: Chasing the Dram - the world of taste and whisky by Rachel McCormack. Hebden Bridge Town Hall • 7:30pm - 9:00pm (Bar open 6.30pm and after the event)

Rachel McCormack is a broadcaster and writer, known mostly as a panelist on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet. She is the author of “Chasing the Dram, finding the spirit of whisky” a wonderful description of her journey visiting the many distilleries in Scotland

We have been contacted by the Yorkshire Film Festival about a fascinating film taking us back in time: We recently released Echoes of the North, a new film made from more than a hundred fragments of archive film including some footage of Hebden Bridge a century ago. It's available to watch online for free until March. We thought your members might be interested in watching it. It can be viewed on YouTube here:

There are local societies with upcoming talks. Here are some links to explore: Their next talk is on Wednesday 15th February, and will be an update on the girls from Liverpool who came to work at Calvert's Mill in Wainstalls. 'Wainstalls Waifs: their journey from workhouse to independence', by Kim Pearson. Next event 10th February – Reminiscences of an old Actor – Peter Alexander (ex Emmerdale, Heartbeat, All Creatures Great and Small etc).

And I’ve just had this message from the society about a local project. I shall be off to have a look asap:

Ever wondered what shops there were in Mytholmroyd during the 1950s and 60s? Wonder no more. Mytholmroyd Historical Society have installed a map of the shops along New Road, Burnley Road and beyond, at the top of Church Street, Mytholmroyd. The map was drawn by Pam Jordan, (who grew up in the village in one of the shops), following the Society's Heritage Day in 2017. Pam had assistance from Ann Rushworth (nee Dodd) and Max and Molly Sunderland. Thanks go to Mark Coup of Welcome Independent Living for allowing us to attach the board to his property at Elphin House. Thanks also to Pennine Signs for producing and erecting the sign. Any memories of the shops would be gratefully received. Enjoy.

Calderdale Heritage Walks are continuing with their winter programme: Sunday 5th February 2023. Shibden Hall parkland and the new Turnpike led by Mike Beecham. New roads, a coal mining argument together with a pistol practice to stop intruders. All in Miss Lister’s time.The walk takes in the Godley cutting turnpike construction and Anne Lister mining activities. Includes Cunnery Lane and the Hall with the lower parkland, finishing where Godley Grange was situated.

Sunday 19th February 2023. Elland to the Calder led by Ian Philip. In 1086 the town featured in Domesday Book. From its fine old parish church and down to the river, we will see how the town evolved and developed down the centuries. There is a steep climb up Gog Hill making the walk unsuitable for wheel chairs. Sadly from many elegant Banks to none and a future Nazi foreign secretary in the ancient Fleece Inn.

Sunday 26th February 2023. Dean Clough, Bowling Dyke, Whitaker's Brewery and two North Bridge Stations led by David Glover. A look at the development and demise of the largest carpet factory in the world, and the area around it. You might be surprised to learn who owned the site in the early 19th Century. Where was the vanished brewery, and the area called Stannary; and what traces are there of a lost railway line? Includes the tale of the 1926 Crib Lane murder and a Halifax Slasher attack. With some steep steps, this walk is unsuitable for wheelchairs.