Hebden Bridge photos
A photographic stroll around this fiercely independent Pennine town
(Photos/words © urban75, March 2008)
Taking its name from a packhorse bridge over Hebden Water, Hebden Bridge developed in late medieval times being located on packhorse routes from Halifax to Heptonstall, Burnley and Rochdale.
'Hedben' comes from 'hep dene' or 'rose valley' and the current bridge dates from 1510.
The Upper Calder Valley had been linked with textiles for centuries, but it was only during the Industrial Revolution that Hebden Bridge began to grow significantly, with the canal and then the railway attracting industry along the valley floor.
With space at a premium, the town was forced to grow upwards along the valley sides, with contour hugging 'double decker' buildings being constructed to house the textile and mill workers.
After the decline of Hebden's corduroy and worsted industries in the 1960s, an influx of hippies managed to help the town to reinvent itself first as a cosmopolitan, alternative centre, with a lively arts community ("The Totnes of the North" as one website described it. Another described it as the "St Ives of the North").
Hebden has also been described as the 'Sapphic capital of Britain' due to its high lesbian population: Lesbians the toast of the Two Ferrets
In 2005 Hebden Bridge topped The Independent's list of towns 'with the most individuality,' with a report in the New Economics Foundation singling out the town as the best in the country for "retaining the individual character of its shops and remaining free of the stultifying influence of the global and national chains".
Trouble at t'mill.
The 'double decker' houses.
Subbing Wharf pub at 3 King Street, Hebden Bridge.
A short walk from the Fox and Goose, the pub sits between the river and the canal and offers a wide range of real ales.
Broughton Street scene.
The old council offices, dating from 1897.
Hebden Bridge Mill in St George's Square, a restored water-powered Pennine mill now housing several shops, workshops and a restaurant.
Shoulder of Mutton, St George's Square. We popped in for a pint later!
St George's Square.
We passed this football game going on as we walked to the railway station.
He scored from this header!
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