But Chris

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Profile On... -

WHAT a dif­fer­ence a year makes. The Up­per Calder Val­ley towns of Heb­den Bridge, Mytholm­royd and Tod­mor­den were dev­as­tated 12 months ago as flood­wa­ter rav­aged their com­mu­ni­ties.

This year it’s sun­shine all the way and the tourists are flock­ing back to this his­toric and pic­turesque val­leys of York­shire that made its name due to its water­ways and wa­ter-pow­ered weav­ing mills along­side the River Calder, Heb­den Wa­ter and the Rochdale Canal.

For those who of­ten won­der why pop­u­la­tions ac­cel­er­ate in ar­eas that have al­ways been sus­cep­ti­ble to flood­ing, the rea­son is sim­ple. Peo­ple set­tle where busi­nesses grow and more be­come at­tracted be­cause of this pop­u­lar­ity.

The mills in Heb­den Bridge brought great pros­per­ity from the 1850s, par­tic­u­larly when Wil­liam Barker re­alised there was a work­force that could also man­u­fac­ture cloth­ing. This led to Heb­den Bridge’s “Trouser Town” nick­name as his fac­tory be­came syn­ony­mous with the pro­duc­tion of work­ing clothes.

Prior to Heb­den Bridge’s rise as a town in its own right Hep­ton­stall was the main com­mu­nity, sit­u­ated up the hill. It is very much the lit­tle brother to Heb­den Bridge to­day, but was built up on a more com­mon sense ap­proach of be­ing on higher ground with no risk of suf­fer­ing the same fate when the rains come.

Heb­den Bridge is ar­guably the most well-loved of York­shire’s western out­posts and since the 1970s has de­vel­oped an in­trigu­ing at­mos­phere of olde-worlde quaint­ness com­bined with cof­fee shop

HIGHER GROUND: Hep­ton­stall parish church. The vil­lage was the main com­mu­nity be­fore its neigh­bour’s rise to pros­per­ity.

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