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 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

The 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

June 2023

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

April 2023

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.

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.

December 2022

Following a fascinating talk by John Styles on the Yorkshire Coiners he has sent us a link to the chapter in his book on the topic. Click on the link and then scroll down and click on the black download button.

The last lecture before Christmas is next week on 14th December. Richard Rainbow is Secretary of the Hebden Bridge Natural History Society and a committee member of the Halifax Scientific Society. His talk is entitled: The trials and tribulations of the Calder Valley Naturalists Calder Valley Naturalists never had it easy. They were continually at odds with local farmers who had other ideas for their land; with the general public who struggled to take an interest; and, more often than not, with each other, as each naturalist strove to be the best in their field. Richard will focus on five naturalists over three centuries whose love of nature caused them immense difficulties and privations.

Heat in the Church

Many of you will have felt decidedly chilly in November. Despair not! The Methodist Church is well aware of the problem, and there is now some insulation to stop up gaps in the windows. In addition, they’re going to start heating up the church earlier and we’ll be able to use six convector heaters for our meetings. Probably best to wear winter woollies, but we’re hoping there’ll be a big improvement for Richard Rainbow’s talk this week and into next year.

Moving on to after the Christmas festivities 2 dates for your diary

On 11th January; Diana Monahan and Justine Wyatt, who are long standing and active members of HBLHS, will present a talk about the paintings of John Holland. A Victorian artist paints the Upper Calder Valley: discovering the landscape paintings of John Holland.

And on 25th January; Peter Thornborrow will be telling us all about 17th century yeoman farmhouses and oak furniture of the Upper Calder Valley.

Also, after Christmas Hebden Bridge Literary and Scientific Society have a lecture on 21st January by Liz John: Writing for the Archers. Whether you are a fan or not it sounds an interesting talk. Details on the link:

BALH Newsletters

Our society is a member of BALH (British Association for Local History). The BALH aims to encourage interest and enthusiasm for local history. We regularly receive newsletters giving details of activities, webinars and workshops around the country. It is the HBLHS that is a member not individual members but if you would like to receive their e-newsletter use the link below. Scroll down and click the ‘Not a member’ and subscribe to the newsletters (no cost involved!)

If you see a webinar or a workshop you would like to view we have a code you can use to receive a discount. Let me know.

There is a revised edition of ‘Mills of the Ryburn Valley’ just out by Julian Carr. Currently available from Text 07767742266 Sowerby Bridge Library

Calderdale Heritage Walks Coming up after Christmas some walks to blow the cobwebs away: Sunday 15th January 2023: “cornholme cornucopia”. This walk explores the settlement’s industrial development and some more unusual aspects of its history led by Anne Mealia Sunday 29th January 2023 A village full of stones: a walk around Ripponden led by Anne Kirker Full details on this link

October 2022

HBLHS new lecture season got off to a good start last week with a talk by Catherine Warr on folklore, customs and traditions. If you did not make it to the live lecture you will have received a link to watch via vimeo, which will be the case with all the lectures this season.

And a reminder that the next lecture is on 12th October. June Turner will be talking about the Fielden Brothers and how one cotton firm profited from slavery.

Hebden Bridge Literary and Scientific Society have a lecture coming up on 8th October at the Hebden Bridge Town Hall, The Waterfront Hall, 7:30pm - 9:00pm. The speaker is Sir Michael Marmot who will be speaking about ‘The Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity’

Our NEW WEBSITE is live

No change to the web address but a refreshing new look to the pages and we hope you will find it interesting and easy to navigate. All the forthcoming lectures are in there, our interest group details, publications and more…

And talking of publications there is a new one available for purchase. Here is a message from our publication officer.

The Hebden Bridge Local History Society has just published Traditional Food in the South Pennines by Peter Brears, one of this country’s leading food historians. The book presents a revealing account of the everyday lives of South Pennine working people from 1800 to around 1918, as experienced through their food and drink. This includes how fuel was gathered, uses of oatmeal, making of butter and cheese, local brewing, and food preservation techniques. Details are included of both poverty and prosperity, social gatherings and the foods associated with particular customs throughout the year as recalled by past generations.

In addition, there are over 170 recipes for local dishes for those who wish to recreate the authentic tastes of the South Pennines. Including the covers, the book contains 60 of the author’s splendid colour illustrations of the food and utensils discussed.

The book costs £11.99. It is available from: • HBLHS website (plus £2.80 for postage):

• The Bookcase in Hebden Bridge

Special Event 20th October at Halifax Minster

The author, Peter Brears, will also be the guest speaker at our special free event ‘WHERE THERE’S A WILL…. at the Halifax Minster to celebrate the completion of a 15-year joint project of the HBLHS and the Halifax Probate Group. The project has been to transcribe, index and publish the wills and inventories of the Calder Valley from 1688-1700. Details are on our website. Some members of the Leeds Waits will be joining us to provide music of the time and all are welcome to come and raise a glass.

Hope to see you there.

Halifax Civic Trust have sent this invitation for a 60th event

On behalf of the Halifax Civic Trust we would like to invite you to celebrate 60 years of Halifax Civic Trust working for Halifax with a lunch event and a guest speaker.

We will be joined by the Mayor and our guest speaker, David Cant, well-known local historian and authority on the traditional buildings of our area, will give an illustrated talk after we have eaten. It promises to be an interesting afternoon with good food and good company.

There is a charge for the two course lunch however this includes garlic bread, water on the tables and tea and coffee after the meal. Our speaker will begin after lunch.There is more information via this Eventbrite link

Calderdale Heritage Walks

There are 2 walks still to come this month: Northowram on 16th October, and Southowram on 23rd October. Check the website for details of the new winter walks programme

CURRENT NEWS August 2022

Welcome to the new season of the Society
Your Autumn Newsletter is on its way to you and within you will find a sheet detailing all our talks from September 28th through to 22nd March 2023 (please note this replaces the membership card this year) Also included is a membership renewal form with details of how to renew your membership and your membership number.

The lecture series starts with a talk by Catherine Warr on 28th September
A Yorkshire Year: 366 days of folklore, customs and traditions.
Catherine Warr runs the YouTube channel ‘ Yorkshire’s Hidden History’ and has become a leading young local historian.

This is followed by a talk by June Turner on Wednesday 12th October which will shed new light on how the Fielden family acquired their wealth:
Fielden Brothers and Radical MP John Fielden: how one cotton firm profited from slavery

We have decided to continue to have ‘live’ lectures and offer a vimeo recording for members for the usual 2 weeks after the lecture.

With Bank Holiday weekend just round the corner you may be interested in checking the Hebden Bridge Web site for events near you.

One with a local history theme is on Saturday 27 August 2022
The Real Coiners Public Workshop Birchcliffe Centre, 2pm - 3.30pm
The Friends of Heptonstall Museum are holding two open public workshop sessions to consider how best to tell the stories of 'The Real Coiners'. Join them and learn more about the plans for the museum.

Rushbearing Season is nearly upon us. It is all happening in and around Sowerby Bridge on 3rd and 4th Sept. Always a fun event.

Heritage Week follows (September 9th – 18th)
There are many local places to visit and details can be found on the heritage site.

The Birchcliffe Centre in Hebden Bridge will be open on 17th September
Birchcliffe Centre - Historic Water Power with Pennine Heritage
Visit the historic Birchcliffe Centre to learn about the history of water power in the Calder Valley. Learn how the fast-flowing waters of our valley were harnessed to create some of the first industrial textile mills, still shaping our landscape. Opening times 10 - 4, no booking needed.

Calderdale Industrial Museum have an event on Wednesday 14th September. A talk by Glenda Shaw at 7.30pm. She will share the story of her Great Uncle Percy Shaw, inventor of the reflecting road studs we call "Cat's Eyes', and talk about how he became a "Yorkshire icon". All are welcome, and there is free entry to members of Calderdale Industrial Museum Association, with a charge of £4 to visitors.

There are Calderdale Heritage walks at the weekend and in the following weeks:
Sunday 28th August Heptonstall Shadows Led by John Billingsley
Monday 29th August Pellon: Missing Railway, Buffalo Bill, The Lady Globetrotter & Websters A 3 hour walk led by David Glover
Sunday 4th September A Shelf Full of Old Iron Led by Mary Twentyman

Please note: there is a change to the link to John Shackleton’s research on the History of Widdop and the Shackleton family. It is now:


Heptonstall Museum is open for the day on 2nd July with an interesting event
The British Multitude, Waiting for Wesley: a script in hand showcase of a new play by Michael Crowley set in the Calder Valley in 1842

On Sunday 3rd July the fountains and gardens of Castle Carr will be open to the public.

WYAS Kirklees is closing from 1st July 2022
The West Yorkshire Archive Service Kirklees office will be closing to the public on 1 July 2022 to carry out essential work to prepare the irreplaceable archive collections to move into a new home in early 2023. For further information please contact 0113 535 0150.

Todmorden Library Local History Days.
For those of you based around/ interested in Tod; Todmorden Library are now running monthly Local History days, where you will be able to browse and find out more about their local history archives. Each month will have a theme. The next one is Maps of the (Tod) world.

Wainsgate Graveyard Project
A new website with some very interesting information has recently become live. Researched and compiled by Chris Barnett it is a useful source for family and local history. The details for the ‘new graveyard’ are on the site. The ‘old’ graveyard records are a work in progress. A very impressive piece of work.

Calderdale Heritage Walks have a walk every Sunday throughout July and the programme can be seen via this link. Walks include Todd Bottom (Shibden Valley), Wainhouse Trail, Judy’s Garden (Judy Woods near Wyke), Brynescoles Valley (Northowram).


2nd to 5th June: The Platinum Jubilee Weekend and there are lots of local events in our area for all ages. HebWeb has a comprehensive list of events to check out:

Here are a couple that have a local history theme:

St James' Church (Church Lane, Hebden Bridge HX7 6DS) has organised the following free celebration for the local community 2nd to 5th June, anytime between 11 am and 3 pm - Exhibition about Mytholm during the last 70 years, charting the changes in the life of the local community since 1952 and changes during that time in areas such as fashions, toys, games, food, drinks, sweets, weddings, memories. Hebden Royd School will also be marking their postponed 150th anniversary with an exhibition of the history of the school. J

Saturday 4th June 1pm. Heptonstall Methodist Chapel and Sunday School.
Fantastic local folk group Ghost Train are returning with local food producers and yummy lunches. Family fun with children's storyteller, face painting and crafts. Plant sale too! The event is organised by the Friends of Heptonstall Chapel and Sunday School, who are working towards the refurbishment of the Sunday School. It will be the first time children’s activities have been held in the Sunday School for ten years. The Sunday School was built in 1824 to give a basic education to children and adults, along with Bible study. In 1889 the building was enlarged. The top storey was removed and replaced with today’s grand hall. In the 1980s, a larger stage and proscenium arch was added. This was badly damaged by damp while the building but was closed and was taken down just before Christmas. Chair of the Friends group, Amy Binns, said: “The Sunday School was built with great pride by a hard-working community. It was at the heart of social life for many years. “We had mixed feelings when the old stage came down. A lot of people had happy memories of shows there. But suddenly the hall was full of light, as the rear windows were uncovered for the first time in decades. We want to create a new, slightly smaller stage so it’s a more flexible space. With a bit of TLC, it will again be one of the most beautiful halls in the Calder Valley.”

Calderdale Heritage Walks have a full programme for the weekend For the bank holiday weekend, they are offering 3 walks. On Friday 3rd June (Bank Holiday) 'Young Anne Lister’s Halifax': a 3 hour stroll around sites and buildings Anne knew: her childhood home and school; her usual bookshop, and Christopher Rawson’s bank amongst others.
On Sunday 5th June, John Brooke will be exploring 'Clifton’s Railways' looking at the social and industrial history of the steam-driven rope railway serving the local coal industry.
On Monday 6th June an an evening walk, starting at 6pm. Join Ian Philip on a walk around 'Anne Walker's Lightcliffe'. In 1830 Elizabeth & Ann Walker inherited much of Lightcliffe.

Mytholmroyd Historical Society have an evening walk and visit to St Mary's Church in Luddenden on Friday 10th June - meet at St Michael's Church car park at 6.30 or go directly to the Luddenden car park. A look at the history of St. Mary’s Church, and Rodney Collinge will be showing a slide show in St. Mary’s to illustrate this and then a look around the church for a short time. There will then be another slide show also in the church on the old mills of the Luddenden Valley and the Cold Edge dams water system which powered the water wheels from which they derived their energy. As we walk up to the church from the car park, we shall look at some old remains of both the water system and also the Church history. We shall finish at about 8.30pm.
The society is looking for more volunteers to organise the society or they are looking to close so, if you can, please go along and support.


Heritage Events coming soon Its nearly Easter and the good news is that the Pace Egg Play is back with us later this week on Good Friday. With several locations up and down the valley there is fun for all.

Through Alice’s Eyes
Alice Longstaff was a local pioneering photographer and her photographs give us a fascinating insight into local life for many years of the 20th century. There is an exhibition coming up at the Birchcliffe Centre from 30th April to 2nd May. 10am – 4pm. The organisers are hoping local people may be able to give details of people and places in the photographs so do go along and maybe there will be a picture of your forebears.

Calderdale Heritage Walks
There is a full summer programme on the website.
Coming up soon on Thursday 14th April 2022 ANNE LISTER MEANS BUSINESS (and maybe some shopping). An evening walk. Prebooking required. Anne Lister regularly strode down to Halifax from Shibden. She had to see her lawyer and her bank manager. Was there also time for shopping? Guide: Jill Liddington

Easter Sunday 17th April 2022 WAINHOUSE TRAIL An insight into Wainhouse Tower, the world’s tallest folly and the area surrounding it. Who built it, why and when? Its height, the number of steps, how was it built without modern machinery. The trail takes a look at the industry and housing in the area. Access to the tower is not included. Meet Sue Hanson at Wakefield Gate, adjacent to the Tower, off Skircoat Moor Road, HX2 7EN

Easter Monday18th April 2022 ODD TOD.
Straddling a historically fluid county border, Todmorden has acquired a name for strange, and sometimes dark, historical (and contemporary) happenings. Meet John Billingsley at the postbox at the market end of Todmorden Town Hall.OL14 5AA

Our winter lecture series is over now but a full season for 2022/3 has been in the making with a wide range of topics to look forward to.

Meanwhile there are other lectures locally including:
The Hebden Bridge Lit and Sci have an upcoming talk by Cheryl Taylor: Reflections (revelations?) on a career in BBC Commissioning. Friday 22nd April 7:30pm at the Town Hall Details of tickets via the website.

Halifax Antiquarian Society Their next lecture is on 19th April at 19.30. The history of the Black Dyke Band.


The last 2 lectures of the 21/22 season will soon be here.

On 9th March, this coming Wednesday, there is a talk by John Brooke who many will know as a local historian and author of a number of publications including Cruel Lives; a history of some West Yorkshire epidemics. His talk is entitled A notable epidemic: the 1880-81 Scarlet Fever outbreak in Halifax when more than 500 people were affected and over 100 people died.
On 23rd March Shirley Daniel and Roy Collinge will be Remembering Cragg Hall 1820-1921. This was the home of the Hinchliffe family and an impressive mansion that fell victim to a disastrous fire on 11th August 1921. Please note that the latter talk will be preceded by a short (hopefully no more than 10 minutes) SGM concerning our move to Charity status. Members were sent an agenda and associated documents a few days ago.

The Hebden Bridge Lit and Sci have an upcoming talk by Kate Lycett, a well-known local artist: Telling Stories, Painting a narrative. This will be at the Town Hall on 12th March at 7.30 pm. Tickets are available via the website:

Mytholmroyd Historical Society: Next event is on Friday 11th March – Christine Booth will give a talk about Anne Lister:

Halifax Antiquarian Society. Their next lecture is on 15th March at 19.30: Walterclough Valley by Bob Horne, Chairman, Lightcliffe & District Local History Society.


Some good news that after a considerable delay, our Exhibition about Hebden Bridge is now available for visitors at the Town Hall until 25th March.
Who Built Hebden Bridge? Who built the walls, the homes, mills and chapels? Who were the workers, who were the architects and who provided the money? To find some of the answers, visit the exhibition by Hebden Bridge Local History Society at Hebden Bridge Town Hall now available until 25th March.
This exhibition, “Who Built Hebden Bridge?”, was originally planned for March two years ago, but Covid caused it to be postponed, and lockdown provided the opportunity for some members of the Society to research further, looking in detail at the growth of some areas such as the Birchcliffe hillside and some of the problems created by Hebden Bridge’s development after it officially became a town in 1866. If you live in Hebden Bridge and know the answers to the above questions for your property, or have ancestors who built Hebden Bridge, please bring the information to add to the research, or contact the Society via their website or facebook page.

And further up the valley there is another interesting exhibition
150 Years of The Fielden Centre: An exhibition illustrating the various periods in the life of this iconic and historic local building. It celebrates the lives and work of some of those whose philanthropic, civic, and personal endeavour contributed to the achievements. With a display of artwork on local history by Todmorden schools. Friday 11th March 5:30pm – 8:00pm. Official opening 6pm. Sat 12th and Sun 13th March 10am – 4pm

We have a new publication!

Midgley and Warley Probate Records 1688-1700

This collection of wills and inventories is a companion volume to publications of documents for the townships of Sowerby and Soyland; Erringden, Langfield and Stansfield; Heptonstall and Wadsworth for the years 1688 - 1700. The documents offer vivid insights into life and death among the people of Midgley and Warley at the end of the seventeenth century. Many were involved in the dual economy of the domestic textile trade and farming. Intriguing insights into family relationships are revealed through bequests, property transfers and the choice of executors. It is noticeable that several individuals have connections with groups of a higher social standing. Inventories give an indication of more extensive private rooms. The inventories not only describe household goods and personal possessions, but also trade tools and farming implements. They also demonstrate the sizeable sums of money loaned and borrowed, and the role of widows in this economic system. The volume contains a description of the probate process, extensive indexes of persons, places, belongings, and a thorough local glossary of usage for this period.
Midgley and Warley Probate Records 1688-1700. Edited by Mike Crawford and Stella Richardson. Published 2022. Hebden Bridge Local History Society Occasional Publication No.11. Paperback. 220 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9933920-6-1. £9.99 (plus £2 towards shipping).
To order a copy visit our publications page:

The Halifax Probate Group have been publishing a similar set of books covering the lower Calder Valley and have recently published their penultimate volume called Skircoat, Southowram and Ovenden: three Halifax townships at the end of the 17th century from probate records. £10.00. Available in Halifax bookshops and from members of the group (which includes myself!) This is the fourth in a series of books containing the probate records of people in three townships surrounding Halifax who died between 1688 and 1700. It has been compiled by the Halifax Probate Group, set up many years ago as a WEA class by the late Alan Petford. Collected in the book are the wills, inventories and associated documents of 81 people, mainly engaged in the so-called dual economy of agriculture and textiles. The wills show us how in their dying days men (and the few women who were allowed to make wills) wanted to avoid dissension among their survivors, and ensure that their property was secured to their heirs, and that children, including those not yet born, would be cared for and educated. The inventories provide intriguing glimpses into the homes of both rich and poor, from those living in comparative luxury to some with little more than a bed and the tools of their trade. As well as careful transcriptions of the documents, there are indexes and a detailed glossary. The extensive introduction contains research and analysis by members of the group, and an absorbing description of the process of probate.

Heritage events An early reminder about the Pace Egg Plays that take place on Easter Friday in Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, Midgley and Mytholmroyd

Saturday 12 March 2022 - Society member, Diana Monahan, will be providing short heritage walks covering the history of the Rochdale Canal in Hebden Bridge during the Canal and River Trust’s Open Day at Lock 9 between Holme Street and Calder Holmes in Hebden Bridge - from 10am until 2pm. CRT are carrying out important water saving repairs to this historic lock. The public footbridge provides a perfect viewing platform down into the drained lock, and specialists will be on-hand to describe the work taking place and to host some fun family canal-themed activities such as have-a-go canoeing, a heritage walk, a stone masonry workshop, and the Canal and River Trust Explorers (the Trust's educational programme aimed at 5-11 year olds to inspire children's learning by connecting them to our canals and rivers).

Calderdale Heritage Walks: The summer programme which starts in April is available to browse through and book places. There are also a couple of walks from the winter programme that still have places; The Heart of Halifax led by Anne Kirker and Walsden led by Anne Mealia on 27th March.

Halifax Civic Trust: The Trust have been working on a very interesting project concerning the Wakefield Gate –“Magna Via”. It includes using a drone to film the route and I believe the film will be shown at the launch. The following gives details of the launch event on Thursday 24th March 2.30 to 4pm at Halifax Minster. We are pleased to welcome our members, friends, and supporters to the launch of this major project, to be held in the presence of the Mayor of Calderdale Cllr. Chris Pillai and Chris Harris DL. Doors open at 2.10 p.m. and in part 1, our team will take you on a walk through history. Refreshments will be available at the Minster café (donations welcome) during the interval of 30 mins. After the interval we have the World Première of the film we have made in partnership with Phil Fearnley, whose company, Halo Vue, works on prestigious TV programmes.

CURRENT NEWS January 2022

Our lectures on the horizon for the New Year:

The committee are continuing to monitor the covid situation and deciding whether to “go live” for each lecture on an individual basis. We have decided to have a live session this week on 26th January at the Methodist Church.

We hope you can join us for Ann Kilbey’s talk on the History of the House of Thornber. This will explore the growth of the poultry business in our local area from a few hen boxes to a world-wide business. As usual the talk will be recorded and will be available for members to watch for 2 weeks after the event.

On 9th February Murray Seccombe will be throwing light on the way the local townships managed social welfare, access and mobility during the crisis years from the 1630s to the 1660s. Murray has been researching this topic for his PhD studies and has uncovered some fascinating information using the chance survival of Sowerby’s book of constables’ accounts.

Lit and Sci news Ann Kilbey has sent the following message to members about the upcoming lecture on 12th February During the worst of the pandemic the Hebden Bridge Literary & Scientific Society, like most organisations, felt it necessary to curtail its activities but we hope that the time has now come to put those problems behind us and launch a new season of lectures. We are pleased to say we have new members on our committee, we have a new look to our website and we would like to announce our first lecture of the 2022 season, which to be on the safe side will be available on zoom only. It will take place on Saturday 12th February at 7.30pm, and I am sure that the subject - What is happening to General Practise? - will be close to all our hearts. The attached poster shows one of the speakers. Further information will be available on our website in the next day or two. We hope we will be able to resume in person lectures soon, but, in the meantime I would like to extend good wishes for 2022 to all our loyal supporters. Thank you. Ann Kilbey

CURENT NEWS November 2021

We have a varied set of talks leading up to the festive season:

  • Wed 10th November there will be a talk by John Cruickshank entitled Spinning through the West Riding. This will give us an insight into the considerable skills needed to produce the yarn so vital to our local cloth making economy before the introduction of powered industrial processes. A short AGM will precede the talk

  • Wed 24th November. Nigel Smith our Archivist and Publications Officer has authored a number of books and his latest ‘The Medieval Park of Erringden’ brings together his research on this very interesting feature of our local area. His talk will draw us into the medieval hunting scene and then on to the division of the park and the settlements which followed it being abolished in the mid-fifteenth century.

  • Wed 8th December. Our final talk before Christmas is the Alan Petford Memorial Lecture. The Dam that isn’t and the Great Floating Plug of the Colden. Dave Smalley has had a lifelong interest in the evolution of the landscape and the history of man’s impact on it. He will be talking about his research and about the early construction of dams built for the textile industry in our local area

And for more zooming and researching the Society is a member of the British Association for Local History BALH is a national charity which promotes local history and serves local historians. It publishes both The Local Historian, a quarterly journal, and Local History News, a topical magazine. These are both available to look at in our archive and for the duration of the pandemic are free to download from the BALH website ( The Society also publishes books and pamphlets on local history. The website offers a wealth of online resources including webinars, workshops, podcasts, ten-minute talks and a blog as well as information on forthcoming events.

The HBLHS archives at the Birchcliffe Centre are now open.

More details on dates and times are provided in the newsletter and on the HBLHS website:

Booking is via email: Archives: Family History:

Local Events

Calderdale Heritage Walks have announced a new winter programme

There are walks up and down the valley and an interesting range of topics. Local to us Anne Mealia will be leading a walk on 28th November – Going to Church in Todmorden.

A number of the walks around Halifax are linked to the Lister family and Shibden Hall.

And if you are a Gentleman Jack fan……

David Glover who was a recent speaker is giving an illustrated talk on Ann Walker, ‘wife to Gentleman Jack’ at the Grayson Unity Bar in Halifax on Wed 1st December

The exhibition celebrating 100 years of the Hebden Bridge Picture House is now open and will be on show at the Town Hall to 20th November

An exhibition celebrating the Centenary of the Royal British Legion St James, Church Lane, Mytholm, Hebden Bridge HX7 6DS is organising the following: 6th November to 21st November - A Local History Exhibition commemorating the centenary of the Royal British Legion and the WW1 memorials of the parish church of Hebden Bridge. The church will be open during these two weeks for people to view the exhibition (and if wished to have a drink and chat) whilst listening to appropriate music provided by The Lost Chord Ensemble and choir from The Little Theatre, Sacred Song Group, Young at Heart singers and local musicians, Saxoclypse Quartet and Daniel Bath on the organ and piano with Peadar Long playing a variety of wind instruments. The church website lists all the free events which have been organised including a talk, Sermons in Wood and Stone, and lunch and refreshments appropriate to the period including Trench Stew. or find us on facebook.

Calling all Family History enthusiasts

1921 Census online publication date announced

On 27th October the National Archives announced that the 1921 Census for England and Wales will be published online by Findmypast on 6 January 2022.

The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) are running another series of podcasts, covering Legal and chancery records, Manorial and estate records and Poor Law, settlement records and workhouses among other topics:

CURRENT NEWS September 2021

Announcing the start of live lectures for the 2021-22 season All talks will be at the Hebden Bridge Methodist Church, now equipped with seats instead of the pews. Lectures start at 7.30pm and are free to members and £4 for visitors. We are also planning to record the lectures and make them available to members via zoom for the following two weeks. If covid restrictions change we will revert to zoom only talks.

The first two lectures of the new season will provide some fascinating insights into local families who lived in two buildings of significant architectural interest.

Wed September 22nd. ‘Who put the Hall in Old Town Hall?’. David Cant, a local historian, who has given many memorable talks, and is interested particularly in the traditional buildings of our area will be telling us about the families who occupied this handsome building, how it became called Old Town Hall and when.

Wed October 13th. ‘A brief history of Shibden Hall’ David Glover, president of the Halifax Antiquarian Society and well- known speaker on local history will be tracing the story of this Grade II listed historic house which dates from 1420 and has been occupied by generations of notable local families including the diarist Anne Lister and antiquarian John Lister.

Wed 27th October with a talk by Heather Clark entitled ‘Sylvia Plath in Yorkshire’ Sylvia Plath’s poetry is acclaimed world-wide and Heather Clark will discuss the poet’s West Yorkshire links, and how these places feature in her poetry. Heather is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at the University of Huddersfield and author of several books about Sylvia Plath.

Further details of the Lecture Programme are available in the Autumn 2021 Newsletter which has recently been distributed to members and is also available on the website:

*** Please note that the date for the AGM and lecture that follows should be 10th November (not 11th November as it appears on page 13 of the Newsletter) ***

A reminder to members that membership renewals for 2021/22 season are now due. At the SGM in August it was agreed to increase the subscription to £15 which we think still represents excellent value for money.

The Archives are Opening

The HBLHS archives at the Birchcliffe Centre will reopen for members at the end of September. The first date will be the morning of Saturday 25th September. Family History meetings will restart on Saturday 2nd October in the afternoon. More details on dates and times are provided in the newsletter and on the HBLHS website:

Numbers are limited and pre-booking is required. Masks and hand-sanitising will also be necessary. Booking is via email: Archives: Family History:

Another plug for our most recent publication

Nigel Smith’s book, The Medieval Park of Erringden, is now available for £11.99 either from the Bookcase on Market Street or through the HBLHS website (plus £2 for postage):

*** Save the date! *** The AGM is scheduled for 10th November and any items/proposals for discussion and any nominations for officers or committee members should reach the secretary by the 8th October 2021. Contact details are: Hon Secretary, Hebden Bridge Local History Society, Birchcliffe Centre, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8DG. Email:

West Yorkshire Archives Service. The Halifax branch opening is still limited to one day a week (Tuesdays) for visitors who need to access original documents for their research. 10am-12.30; 1.30-4. All visitors will be required to book their visit and order documents at least one week in advance. To book email:

A number of local history societies have published their autumn lectures and are planning to have live meetings. These include:

Mytholmroyd Historical Society First lecture 10th September

Cragg Vale Local History Group First lecture 16th September

An exhibition celebrating 100 years of the Hebden Bridge Picture House will be on show at the Town Hall from 25th October to 20th November

And lastly Heritage Open Days are with us again from 10th -19th September. Use this link to find what is on locally and further afield