Bringing History Alive

Photos from the Hebden Bridge Local History Society

Remembering Cragg Hall 1820 – 1921

On the morning of the twelfth of August 1921, the residents of Cragg Vale woke to find their landscape changed: the magnificent Cragg Hall, part of the fabric of the community, was a smouldering ruin. After a hundred years there is no-one left with memories of the Hall, so Shirley Daniel and Roy Collinge of the Cragg Vale Local History Group decided that they would delve into its history and tell the tale of what was acclaimed as one of the finest buildings in Yorkshire. Read report. (28 March 2022)

A Notable Epidemic: The 1880-81 scarlet fever outbreak in Halifax

After 2 years of constant discussion about the progress of the Covid pandemic, we have become all too aware of epidemiology, and the ways in which disease can spread. John Brooke, local historian and author of Cruel Lives: a history of some West Yorkshire epidemics, told a meeting of the Local History Society the story of an epidemic 140 years ago, which killed more than a hundred people in Halifax. Read report   (16 March 2022)

The Pace Egg Play

HeptonstallThe team are finding themselves held back this year by a lack of players and are therefore sending out a call for people interested in stepping into the breach.

The event is on Good Friday 15th April 2022. So, if you are interested or know someone who may want to join in, please get in touch

More info

William Morrisons: A Yorkshire Success Story

HeptonstallJanet Senior told how William Morrison was left an orphan at the age of 9, and eventually moved to Bradford where he became an apprentice grocer. He married Amelia Schoon a woman from a well off family, and in 1899 opened the first Morrison's shop.

However it was his second wife, Hilda Ryder, who became the driving force of the business. They expanded the number of shops and the range of produce they sold, though maintaining their market stalls.

Read report (25 February 2022)

Managing Space, Managing People: constables and highways in seventeenth century Sowerby

Murray Seccombe, a member of Hebden Bridge Local History Society, has been exploring seventeenth century records to discover more about the ways that townships and manors organised and administered the highway networks as part of his PhD studies. Updating members of the society in Hebden Bridge, he described the chance survival of a very rare document – the notebook of the accounts of the Constables of Sowerby from 1628 to 1695. Read report (15 Feb 2022)

A History of the House of Thornber

Many in the audience at the latest meeting of Hebden Bridge Local History Society recalled the little red vans belonging to Thornber Chicks which used to be seen around the valley. There was a real rags to riches story to be told about the family firm and Ann Kilbey, Society member and local historian, who had worked for the company in the 1960s, was the person to tell it. Read more (29 Jan 2022)

Cinema in Hebden Bridge

Old Town HallSpeaking to Hebden Bridge Local History Society Kate Higham told the story of how cinema has been at the heart of the town since the early days of the travelling theatre tents. Possibly the first travelling cinema to reach Hebden Bridge was in 1898. In 1911, approval was given for a permanent building, the Royal Electric Theatre and Hippodrome, with a design by local architect William Cockcroft. Read more

The dam that isn't and the great floating plug of the Colden

Glee UnionsThe annual Alan Petford Memorial Lecture. Dave Smalley's initial interest in the dam of Colden water situated high on the moors at Nodale (also Noahdale) was stimulated by a local legend of how it had failed catastrophically in 1936 and that a giant floating plug of dam wall could still be found in the landscape. A study of the site revealed more about the way the dam had been originally constructed, and how its extension in about 1826 had built in its failure. Read report

Alan Petford book

Midgley and Warley Probate Records 1688-1700: Edited by Mike Crawford and Stella Richardson. Published 2022. 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.

See Publications section for more info.

Download Newsletter
Spring 2022

How to use this site

Use these pages to find information on the Society's own activities, links to local and other historical organisations' sites, and links to useful resources for local history researchers.

What do we do?

We have a programme of fortnightly talks on Wednesday evenings in Hebden Bridge Methodist Church Hall.

Our Archive is open to members . History Society Archive and Family History Opening Times.

Come and join us!

There are lots of activities to get involved in as well as the Society's regular programme of events.

Trestle Bridge

Trestle Bridge, Blake Dean c1904

West End Bridge

West End Bridge, 1960s


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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

A major role of folklore is to express the 'common sense' of a community - in other words, the shared rhythms and beliefs and ways of doing things that are accepted and largely followed locally.

Midgley Moor

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

Calderside Mill

What you find in this section are the results of about ten years work - visiting archives, interviewing local residents and digging up new photos.