What's on

History Programme: September 2017 – March 2018

Venue: Methodist Church, Market Street, Hebden Bridge at 7.30pm

27 September 2017

Memories from Hebden Bridge Pharmacies

Linda Powell

Memories From Hebden Bridge Pharmacies

The Co-op chemist in Albert Street was an essential part of community life. Having worked there in the 1960s and in other pharmacies in Hebden Bridge in a career spanning forty years Linda has many memories to share. Being behind the chemist counter was rewarding, sometimes sad and often funny as the assistants dealt with many and varied medical conditions. 

Linda describes herself as 'very much a local' having been born in Mytholmroyd and after her marriage moving along the valley to Hebden Bridge. She qualified as an Apothecary Hall Pharmacy technician in 1966 and continued this career in Hebden Bridge. Now she is enjoying a happy and busy retirement.

11 OCTOBER 2017

Change to programme

The Todmorden Old Pub Trail

Barbara Rudman

This talk illustrates the speaker’s passion for the history of twentieth century pubs, which, she believes, reflects our social evolution very closely. The memories of earlier generations have been captured to save a vital part of our local history. The memories of earlier generations have been captured to save a vital part of our local history.

Born in County Durham , Barbara has lived in Todmorden for over fifty years and has been involved with various community charities.

We are hoping that the talk on The Whittakers and the Holme at Cliviger will be given later in the season.

25 OCTOBER 2017

Local History Society AGM followed by

How the Hippies changed Hebden Bridge

Chris Ratcliffe and Jenny Slaughter

The 1970s was the decade when people seeking an alternative lifestyle - the 'hippies' - began to move to Hebden Bridge in significant numbers. The town started earning a reputation for having a radical edge, attracting kindred spirits and eventually being declared the 4th funkiest town in the world.

Chris and Jenny will cover topics ranging from the Queens Terrace Squat, Aurora wholefoods, new forms of spirituality, the renovation of derelict properties and the wider creative counter culture.  Chris is a former Queens Terrace squatter and now editor of HebWeb. Jenny bought Latham Farm as a ruin in the 1970s and has lived there ever since. Both were involved in gathering material for the recent very popular History Society exhibition with the same title.


The Withins Farms

Steven Wood

The Withins Farms

The ruin of Top Withins on Stanbury Moor is internationally famous as the supposed inspiration for the site of Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights. In real life, it was one of three Withins farms carved out of the moor in the sixteenth century.

The history of these farms provides a fascinating study of the hill farming economy of the Pennine moors from the sixteenth to the twentieth century.  Steven Wood is an independent historian who has been studying the Haworth area for some thirty years. He has published seven books on Haworth and its neighbouring villages of Oxenhope and Stanbury.  The most recent is his collaboration with Peter Brears on the history of the Withins farms.

22 NOVEMBER 2017

Twenty Thousand descend on Hardcastle Crags

A virtual walk from the station to Hardcastle Crags and around, 50 to 100 years ago

David Taylor

Twenty Thousand Descend On Hardcastle Crags

By the 1850s, visitors were coming to Hebden Bridge for Hardcastle Crags from the mill towns on both sides of the Pennines, all thanks to the railway. By the turn of the century they were coming in their thousands – an estimated 20,000 over the three-day Whitsun holiday in 1897! Using many images from the Pennine Horizons Digital Archive we will follow in their footsteps to see how different it was all those years ago as they walked from the station to and around the Crags, enjoying all the facilities provided there.  David has lived all his life in the historic West Riding of Yorkshire, moving to Calderdale in 1988. A member of the History Society and a volunteer with Pennine Horizons, he was involved in co-producing an exhibition on the railway and the visitors to Hardcastle Crags, which was mounted at Gibson Mill and in the town.

13 DECEMBER 2017

From Crime Scene to Holiday Camp

Stories of Hawdon Hall

Freda Kelsall

In February 1817, a small homestead near Hardcastle Crags, with a tangle of names - (Hawden - or Hawdon - Hole, Hoyle or Hall) was invaded by notoriety.   An aged man of no great fortune was found to have been murdered there;  just over a century later, it was providing a welcome for holiday-makers!  Local writer and artist Billy Holt may have inspired the idea of Butlins, before setting off with his horse Trigger in pursuit of adventure.   His benign influence on the historical record offsets the tragedy of death, detection and retribution.   

Freda Kelsall was born in Southport, where she worked for the Public Libraries, trained in speech and drama, and had a novel published, before moving to London to train as a teacher, also beginning to work in TV.  After teaching in London and Hampshire, and writing TV plays part-time, her on-going contract (1973-1995) with YTV to write the dramatised social history series, How We Used to Live, led her to make her home in Hebden Bridge, where she has lived since 1982.

10 JANUARY 2018

Recognition, resilience and reward: Women and girls of the Upper Calder Valley during World War One

Julia Maybury

Women and girls of the Upper Calder Valley during World War One

Recognising the many roles and considerable contributions of women and girls in the home, the community, industry and nursing on the Home Front and abroad on the War Front. These four years had a considerable impact on social class and gender expectations, and offered new opportunities in education and industry and in the workplace and the Armed Forces, rewarding them with Votes for Women.

Julia’s professional life has been devoted to education at school level then at policy, academic and non-governmental levels in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. She lived and worked for 15 years in conflict and post conflict countries and under military occupation.

24 JANUARY 2018

The People of the Parish Of Halifax: 1539 to 1670

Parish registers and the reconstruction of the population

Ian Bailey

During the Black Death of 1348, up to a half of the people of England died; it took two centuries before the country reached the same number of inhabitants again. Given that one single event can have such a dramatic impact on the social history of the nation, it is perhaps surprising that local historians have not devoted more time to understanding the size of local populations.  Whether it is in order to appreciate the impact of war, famine, disease, economic instability or political upheaval on a locality, it seems that the changing size of its population is an essential element of the local historian's evidential base.

This talk is the result of a group project run in Hebden Bridge by the Society. It aims to demonstrate how Halifax's legacy of parish registers can be used to discover the size of its population, where those people were living and what events impacted on them.

14 FEBRUARY 2018

Damn Your Eyes!

Protection against the evil eye in human society and local architecture Mytholmroyd Farm - the evil eye

John Billingsley

Damn Your Eyes!

John's recent research has been into the material remains of folk magic in our built environment, comprising carvings, deposits and customs aimed at protecting buildings and households. In this talk he suggests that the evil eye should not be seen as an aspect of witchcraft, but as an aspect of human personality aggravated by the growth of wealth disparity, especially in the 17th century. 

John Billingsley's interest in Calder Valley history has focussed on local folklore, particularly legends and aspects of traditional folk magic. He has written or edited seven books and organised or presented various conferences on such topics. He has also edited the antiquarian magazine Northern Earth since 1991.

28 FEBRUARY 2018

Seven Centuries Of Recorded Floods In The Calder Valley

Why are they getting worse? What can we learn from history? Has the Environment Agency learnt anything from history?

Nick Wilding

Seven Centuries Of Recorded Floods In The Calder Valley

Using evidence stretching back to the 14th Century, Nick Wilding compares the 2015 Boxing Day floods and other recent inundations to accounts of floods from previous centuries. In the course of doing so, he discovers some interesting analogies. He traces the course of the tributaries that feed the River Calder and finds that the origins of extreme flood events in the past were in many ways no different to the ones that cause them today. However, he finds that today's floods have been exacerbated by a range of late 20th Century and 21st Century factors that were not applicable in days gone by.    

Nick Wilding is an ex BBC producer, an independent filmmaker and historical researcher, who has made a string of documentaries on a wide range of local Calder Valley subjects and has prepared talks, interspersed with extracts from his films, based upon his recorded interviews with local people and his own research.   

14 MARCH 2018

The Norman Conquest of Yorkshire

Dr. Paul Dalton

The Norman conquest of England is often associated with the year 1066, and with the battle of Hastings, fought on 14 October that year, in which the army of William, duke of Normandy, defeated and killed Harold Godwineson, king of the English. In fact, the Norman conquest took many years to achieve. There was much violent resistance to the rule of William the Conqueror after 1066, especially in northern England. This talk will discuss the nature of this resistance in Yorkshire and the brutal measures William used to overcome it, including his infamous 'harrying of the North'. It will also explore the dramatic, and in some respects catastrophic, impact of the Norman conquest on the aristocratic society, landholding, government, wealth, and landscape of power in Yorkshire between 1066 and 1087.

Dr Paul Dalton is a Principal Lecturer in Medieval History at Canterbury Christ Church University. He has published widely on Anglo-Norman history, including a book entitled Conquest, Anarchy and Lordship: Yorkshire 1066-1154, published by Cambridge University Press.

28 MARCH 2018

The Alan Petford Annual Memorial Lecture

Township Boundaries and Commons Disputes in the South Pennines

Dr. Nigel Smith

The South Pennines

In upland areas, boundaries across moorland were frequently subject to dispute occasioned by disagreements over grazing and other rights of common. The definition of boundaries thus became an increasingly common issue that reached a litigious peak during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. This talk will cover a number of disputes around the Calder Valley but will focus on two disputes: one between Midgley and Wadsworth that was still ongoing in the nineteenth century, and one involving protracted litigation by Langfield in the early seventeenth century. This litigation provides evidence of a long-lost boundary that sheds some light on certain early township territories within the Upper Calder Valley. Nigel's research interests focus on the landscape and agricultural history of the Upper Calder valley and the wider South Pennines. He has recently edited "History in the South Pennines: The Legacy of Alan Petford", a volume of essays dedicated to the late Alan Petford.

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Family History

The group runs a popular programme of workshops and drop-in sessions at the Birchcliffe Centre

Churn Milk Joan

Upper Calderdale's suitability for the preservation of local cultural tradition is nowhere shown as strongly as in its wealth of folk tales about places, many of which are still being passed on by word of mouth.

Midgley Moor

For some years now a small group of friends has been exploring the evidence for prehistoric activity in the South Pennines.