Sunday, 30 June 2013

Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire


I had a third nights accommodation at Haworth before my weekend in Manchester so I took the opportunity of visiting the next place on my list ... Hebden Bridge. I had briefly passed through this Calder Valley town about nine years earlier on route to Hardcastle Crags for a walk with friends from a Yorkshire walking group. The Pennine Yorkshire town seemed full of character and interested me enough to want to return ... can't believe it took me nine years !!

I was fortunate enough to find and take the title photo and later discover that it was the original Hebden Bridge. Even though I caught this local beauty spot on a quiet midweek day, ...

One of the locals putting his feet up and enjoying todays peace !

... it  was once a trade route thoroughfare in this part of the Pennine hills and indeed sits as a fulcrum in between the towns of Burnley, Rochdale, Halifax and Bradford.

As a result, it it would be no secret that the town developed as an important textile centre and was known as "Trouser town" !

Roll up your trousers ...  !!!

                            GJC_002171_edited-1 - Version 2

The surrounding steep Pennine hills proved a valuable asset in the development of water powered weaving mills ...

Houses on the hill GJC_002208

... and also for developing accommodation for the workers !!

Modern Mill GJC_002165

These days it seems that it is the tourist that brings the trade with every opportunity made available to them ... even under one roof !


The Rochdale canal running through Hebden Bridge was a lifeline to the textile industry and replaced "the bridge" as a commercial trade route.

                            Canal Chimney GJC_002189

It wasn't without problems or arguments during the 30 years of conception from 1776 as mill owners who could only see past their own nose, ...

                             The canal GJC_002190

... complained that the canal would bring unemployment due to the amount of water required that would otherwise be used to power their mills.

Just chill out ... it'll happen


The canal was given Government approval at the third attempt and because of these additional costs, the final civil engineering construction was modified.

Mill & canal lock  GJC_002193

                             Pennine Mill GJC_002195

Other delays were deciding on the route to Manchester eventually became the highest canal summit in Britain at 600 feet (183m).

                            Canal Mill  GJC_002196

Eastwards, the canal officially ends as it joins the River Calder at Sowerby Bridge but the navigable system continues to join the River Aire at Castleford, The River Ouse at Goole (following the man made Knottingley - Goole route) and The River Humber to The North Sea at Grimsby.


The Cooperative society in Hebden Bridge had the notoriety of being defrauded and going bankrupt during the 1960's. The sizeable building unwisely became a Hotel before being developed into residential apartments.

Nisa ... the corner shop !
The Co-op store relocated to modern premises on the edge of the town centre leaving the chain store Nisa to quench the money thirst of the problem building !!

                             Cafe seat   GJC_002172

With the failure of the Hotel project and the town ticking over for the locals ... I came across a seat in a cafe in the central hub of the town centre that bears the weight of the people of Hebden Bridge or maybe it represents the occasional tourist spending all their time looking up at all those tall chimneys and buildings...


There are however sites that some want to keep personal and will guard at all costs ...

Private Mooring  GJC_002181


  1. You caught it on a grand day and did it proud. I've only ever been there in cloud and rain.

  2. I like all of the pictures, especially those of the canal.

  3. Lovely location here, J_on_tour!

  4. That looks like a really interesting town to visit, thanks for the background information.

  5. I'm so glad I checked in. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. How I'd love to travel some of those canals! I'd love to have seen that village in its heyday. So many of us are now service providers, rather than producers. Very interesting post, J. And that bit of sculpture needs to visit a chiropractor. ;-)

  6. What an amazing and beautiful place! A very interesting history! Thank you for your continued detailed stories! You always make me what to be there!



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