Today I boarded the wrong train! Luckily it wasn’t a non-stop to London, and the ticket collector (yes, they still have them) discovered my error in time for me to change trains at the next station. This just happened to be Mytholmroyd, one time home of Ted Hughes, Britain’s poet laureate and husband of Sylvia Plath. With the 40 minutes I had to wait for the next train I explored the little place that was heavily affected by the floods last Christmas. Sand bags still line the street – and ironically  the shop behind them is called White Sands travel agency. I also passed the clog factory, still in operation. I have my great aunt’s clogs displayed on my wall at home. (Click on images for captions)

Arriving in Halifax I made a bee-line for Marks and Sparks to find a take-out lunch so that I could sit in the ‘Woolshops’ and people watch, drinking my elderflower juice. Then to the library to try to find old maps with streets that my relatives lived on – Gaol, Haigh Streets. There were some great books of old maps and old paintings of Halifax at the height of the industrial revolution. The tourist information center provided me with an A-Z of street names with maps (free). I mentioned that I’d like to see All souls Church, Haley Hill but I understood that it closed down many years ago. They told me it opened on Christmas Day, and maybe Easter Sunday, but they thought that maybe Jackie has a key. Hmmm. Oh, yes. Here’s Jackie’s phone number. I gave her a call, explaining my quest. ‘Where are you now?’ she


All Saints church, Haley Hill

asked. ‘In the library,’ I told her. ‘Ok,’ came the response, ‘I’ll meet you outside in 2 minutes.’ And two minutes later I found myself in a car with Jackie and her husband. He dropped us off outside the church, a five minutes drive, she took out her key, and there we were, inside this amazing church with the tallest spire in Halifax. It was built with money given by Edward Ackroyd, a mill owner, who also built cottages and a hospital for his



workers. The church was very ornate, and even had a grotesque in Ackroyd’s likeness. It closed in 1979 and is now owned by the Churches Conservation trust who own All Souls in Bolton.  Jackie took me to the cemetery but it is VERY large and overgrown. It’s the resting place of James Hainsworth Leeming, who married my great great grandmother, Elizabeth Ann,  after her husband, Ishmael Nutton had died from alpaca poisoning. He had been a lodger with them before Ishmael’s death and was 12 years her junior. Then she showed me Ackroyd’s house, now the Bankfield museum (closed on Mondays) and was even happy to go with me in search of Ackroyd Court, the high rise apartment where my grandma’s sister Lily lived. I remember visiting her there when I was a little girl and seem to have some recollection of the church spire outside her window.

Back in Hebden Bridge I saw a flier at the station announcing a vigil in the Square for the murdered MP Jo Cox. Back a’th’ mill I mentioned it to Chris and she went too. A very moving tribute. The local chippy provided supper and I was fortunate because they were taking last orders as I arrived – at 6:30!!


Vigil for Jo Cox

I watched England draw 0-0 with Slovakia. That’s pretty much the first time I have done something not connected with my ‘study abroad’ since I got here. The down time was very much appreciated – though a winning goal may have made it a little sweeter.