Month: July 2017 (Page 2 of 3)

July 17 Knit and natter


Picture of the day! 


Lunch on the patio


It must be hot


I joined that ladies of the knit ‘nd natter at Hope Chapel, Hebden Bridge.



Hope Chapel has been closed and undergoing major restoration since the floods of 2015. It’s going to be reopened shortly


The ceiling was finished today


An evening stroll along the canal to Mytholmroyd and provided this mill chimney


You can see my mill  on the left  of the canal.

July 16 Going to church

The first thing I saw this morning out of my bedroom window was this traffic jam . .  . .

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Some of my ancestors had been married at the C of E church in Hebden Bridge. I’s never been in the church so I thought it would be interesting to attend a Sunday morning service. The vicar welcomed 2 visitors from ‘over the Atlantic’ so I raised my hand and added myself to his list!


This lady knew Affetside! In fact she told me that her grandmother had lived there. There was also a man who had been stationed in the Air Force base on Alameda, CA




Yes, playing the organ again

Lovely old print of the church surrounded by mills
After a cup of tea at the end of the service I went for lunch at Rendezvous where I had  delicious cauliflower and broccoli in a cheese sauce. I made it back t’ th’ mill just as Cilic and Federer were starting the Wimbledon final but it wasn’t the most thrilling match of the tournament. Nicola came upstairs to watch it with me. In the evening I went for a drink at the Shoulder of Mutton and Ian introduced me to his dogs, Charlie and Lulu. The bartender gave me the recipe for sticky toffee flavoured vodka – not a bad way to pass an hour! 

July 15 Friends and a brass band

It was raining hard when I got up. I’d had to move out of my third floor apartment because it had been rented for the weekend. So I had moved everything from my space into the spare bedroom which had a lovely view right out onto the canal. Nicola had spent a long time time night helping me book my train ticket to Aberdeen. I’d had the same difficulty last year when trying to book a train to Edinburgh but we had eventually sorted it out, so first thing this morning was a trip to the station with Nicola to obtain my ticket from the machine. Hey, it worked!

For the first weekend on my trip I had nothing planned. I looked to see what was on in Bradford, Ilkley, Leeds etc but eventually I decided on calling Jean who had mentioned that she was going to a brass band at a church on Saturday afternoon. I called her and she invited me to meet with her and her friend Katrina who was visiting from Stockport. Katrina had been born and raised in Sowerby but had moved to the Manchester area when she was seven. She has strong feeling that she would like to move back to the area, so we had lots in common. I took the train to Sowerby Bridge, had tea and crumpets in Gabriel’s cafe and the caught the bus which struggled to get to the top of Sowerby. I spent half an hour looking for graves of Barracloughs in St Peter’s churchyard and easily found three memorials. I’ll have to do a lot of work to find out if I was related to any of them.

IMG_2601I met Jean and Katrina and we walked along the top road to Steep Lane chapel, the baptist church of Sowerby. It seemed almost surreal to walk through this rural landscape, past isolated farms and cows to arrived at a lonely chapel in which we were to hear  Skelmanthorpe Prospect Brass Band followed by afternoon tea for 8 pounds. About 45 people had showed up. I think we were the only ones arriving on Shanks’s pony. The conductor set up a  brilliant repartee with the audience with his strong South Yorkshire accent. He told amusing anecdotes and encouraged audience participation, at one point stopping the band when the audience were too quiet. The whole atmosphere was relaxed and fun. The 13 piece band had a good mix of ages with the majority looking to be in their 20’s, all wearing their uniform with pride.


The remote chapel in Sowerby


View from the chapel


Click to listen to the conductor introducing two pieces:


Afternoon tea in the Sunday School


This serves 4!


Katrina, Jean and friend

The band played for just over an hour and then everyone headed into the Sunday school for afternoon tea. Each table was filled with sandwiches and a great variety of cakes on cute little cake stands. everything had been homemade either by the church or band members and was absolutely delicious. Jean seemed to know most of the people and as we walked back to Jean’s house she pointed to each house and told us who used to live there when she was a child. We were even able to take a look at the under-dwelling that Katrina used to live in.

After trying not to do much walking today I’d ended up walking 5 1/2 miles so I decided to stay in and catch up with journal writings and sorting out photos.

July 13 Todmorden market

It took me just under two hours to walk to Todmorden, the small market town that market the boundary (much disputed) between Lancashire and Yorkshire. I wore my red rose earrings and and white rose necklace to mark the occasion! I walked along the canal towpath immediately outside my mill to the center of Todmorden – 5.8 miles – with not one yard of road.  By the time I arrived the town was bustling, for today was not only market day but second hand market day at that. Much in need of a bathroom I found I didn’t have a 20p coin for the toilet. I asked a market vendor for change for my 50p coin. ‘Ah,’ he said knowingly, ‘You must need to go t’at toilet!. It’s 20p for a pee!’ Feeling much more comfortable I returned to the coffee shop that I’d gone to with Sarah where I listened to barista Lisa talk about her daughter’s upcoming wedding. Obviously everyone sitting at the bar were regulars. Much refreshed I had a great time wandering around the outdoor stalls. I even bought two dresses for 3 pounds each. The vintage clothing and vintage jewelry just wanted me to grab and Anna and bring her here immediately!

The White Hart, a Wetherby’s, provided lunch, just as with Sarah, and I placed myself in front of the TV to watch tennis from Wimbledon, as dug into my chicken strips. One of the features of the Wetherby’s chain is to have photos of the area on the walls. I found a large photo of Todmorden Old Hall so I called in at the excellent information bureau to ask its location. The elderly lady gave me a potted history of the place which was recently turned into a private home after serving as Todmorden’s only upscale restaurant for many years. She was quite sad about the change.

I’m now sitting in The Grayston Unity, a micropub which would fit into my living room at home, at the suggestion of the security guard in Halifax Town Hall. I was here to see an event about the rebuilding of Elland Bridge after the devastating flood of Boxing Day 2015. I’d see a flier advertising the lecture and slide show but there was no mention, absolutely zero mention of the event online. i eventually found a photo that I’d taken of the flier on a wall in Halifax and showed up early to check that I was in the right place. The  security guard looks at the large screen behind him with Today’s events emblazoned in bright colours. No mention of the lecture. ‘Is it to do with the Civic Trust?’ he asks. ‘I think so.’ ‘Well,  in that case it’ll be in Room 2 upstairs.’ ‘Is it happening at 7.30 tonight?’ ‘I don’t know! I did put a screen in room 2 earlier today. But they’ll bring their own projector.’ ‘OK. Where can I get a cup of tea while I wait?’ ‘Ee, not in ‘ere luv. This is ‘t Town ‘all.’ In the end he directed me here to this little tiny pub where I got just what I asked for, plus the loan of a pen to write my journal since both mine had run themselves dry. As iItook my seat I saw David arrive – the man who had led the urban walk AND read the lesson in Halifax Minster. Evidently he is the vice president of the Civic Trust  too and he was introducing the guest speaker.


Canal-side garden. My mum used to have this very bread bin!


Former glories



For sale at Todmorden market


Imagine how long it takes to set up and take down this each day!


Yum yum


Grey skies don’t deter the shoppers

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The elegance of Halifax Town hall


10 people were at the presentation

July 14 Bushwacking in two cemeteries


It rained so heavily overnight that the constant noise on the skylight in my bedroom woke me up several times. I’d planned to go to two cemeteries in Heptonstall so fortunately the rain had stopped by the time I left at 10 a.m.


It was cold, wet and windy  but I uncovered three of the four gravestones I was seeking: James Wrigley  of Heptonstall d 1846, his wife, Mally, 1858, ( my gt gt gt gt grandparents)t heir son Thomas (my gt gt gt uncle) of Hebden Bridge d 1875 and his wife Susey d 1886


James Farrar Whitham d 1901, Elizabeth d 1907, Sarah Hannah, d 1923 and William Farrar Whitham 1924


Farrar Whitham was living in Heptonstall  ‘under arch’ in 1895. I couldn’t find that on any map so I asked the man who runs the Post Office. He stepped outside his little shop and pointed to ‘the arch’ through which are some ancient cottages. Interestingly, this building is actually joined to The Old Dairy where Rachel and I stayed two years ago!



Cottages ‘under arch.’


View from Lily Hall


Cross Lane cemetery, Heptonstall. The Methodist chapel was demolished in 1960 but the graveyard remains.


Grave of Sarah Wrigley and Thomas Henry Wrigley


July 12 – A hike: In Search of chimneys, turrets and towers in the course of which I crashed a Bollywood movie!



On the set of a Bollywood feature film being shot at Shibden Hall (featured memorably in Last tango in Halifax)



Shibden Hall

From the sublime to the ridiculous . .  .





After our10 mile hike!

July 11 The first day of non-stop rain


I awoke to this scene . . . .

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. .  . so I decided to make it an ancestry research day. As luck would have it, or not, the library is closed on Tuesdays which meant that I stayed home to do my research online, which was ok but I’d rather be out and about. By 4 pm I was getting restless so I decided to go and check out in the field what I’d discovered.


After about 10 minutes’ walk I came upon this view of William Farrar’s underdwelling on River Street: it’s the house on the far right of the terrace.


Stairs provide access up and down the steep slopes.


A new discovery today was the fact that my 2nd cousin three times removed was the architect of this Catholic church no more than 10 minutes’ walk from my mill! It’s now converted into very nice apartments


July 10


I couldn’t find River Street on any map of Hebden Bridge. Yet my gt gt gt uncle, Farrar Whitham had lived there , at #2, in 1895. With the aid of Diana from the local historical society I located River Street. It is the underdwelling of Bridge Lanes. This path (above) is the only access to the house. From Bridge Lane the house appears to be 2 storey but from the path (called River Street) there is another level underneath. 


This is River Street. It didn’t seem such a good place to wander around alone, especially taking photos so I was delighted when a man approached me. ‘Do you live here?’ I asked. and he does. He’s the longest resident and has lived here for 40 years. He was able to tell me the more recent history of the building, how originally it had been two storey, then a third storey was added. About 40 years ago the whole block had been condemned as unfit for human habitation but a grant was given to renovate it and now many of the homes are single family dwellings spanning the entire 3 storeys. A doctor owns William Farrar’s house now but it is a second home for her. Barry agreed to tell his story on camera but for some reason my camera malfunctioned so I didn’t get it all. However, he invited me to Quiz Night at the Fox and Goose later that evening. 

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Walking back to my mill from Quiz Night Bridge Lanes looked quite spooky. it’s only second time I’ve been out in the dark! It was after 11 when I left the pub.


Quiz Night at the Fox and Goose, a community owned pub – meaning you could buy shares in it! I ordered a beer and asked which room the quiz took place and I was told to sit ‘reet theer.’ And I found myself sitting next to Nina who I had sat next to at the Hepton Singers on Saturday night. Nina lives in Hebden and she was with Mike who was visiting from Brighton. They didn’t know about the quiz but I enlisted their considerable expertise, and together with Barry we formed the Passenger Pigeons team.

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I’ve followed the progress of mummy duck and her 4 fluffy yellow duckings all week. This morning, however, there were only 3, and by the time I left to walk to the pub quiz there were only 2 ducklings in tow.


A spooky walk back through the deserted town.

July 9th

I got to play the organ in Halifax Minster!

This wonderful church was the site of many of my ancestor’s weddings and baptisms. For the last day of their music festival the church invited anyone to join the choir rehearsal for evensong. I met Father Hillary, the vicar, and he conducted the rehearsal. I introduced myself to the organist who invited me to stay after the service if I’d like to ‘have a go’ on the organ, an offer I couldn’t possibly refuse!IMG_2203IMG_2206

Tea and cakes were, of course, served between the rehearsal and the service


With Graham, the organist and Father Hillary

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The person who recorded my video was a man who read the lessons, who just happened to be the person who had led the guided walk to King Cross a couple of days ago, and who I’d enlisted to help me with some ancestry research! As I was waiting at the bus stop after the service I was playing back the video (very quietly) when the man in front of me said,’I just heard that piece being performed in the Minster.’ ‘Were you singing in the choir?’ I asked. ‘No’ he smiled. ‘I was officiating at the service.’ ‘Sorry, I didn’t recognise you without your robes,’ I responded.

Here are two clips from our choir rehearsal: the young trebles are amazing.

July 8 Hilltop towns


Wainsgate Chapel, high above Hebden Bridge in Old Town. I’d never been to Old Town before. the bus driver didn’t know where the chapel was but I’d see a flier for a bazaar there so I knew that would be a good time to see inside the chapel. So many of these old buildings are crumbling and are usually kept closed for safety. And yes, that person is wearing a beekeeper’s overall.


Beautiful but crumbling. The art installation is called Vessels and is about one’s journey through life. The origami birds made from pages from magazines were very clever.



Tea and cakes were served. Just look at the layers on that chocolate cake!


One window had stained glass – unusual for a baptist chapel


Then i went to explore Old Town



Old Town mill is now derelict but I was informed that it will be converted into apartments.


Old Town mill chimney


Scrap metal and Stoodley Pike


I like this shot


. . .and this one. They remind me of my ghost towns.


Back down the hill in Hebden I’d had an email from Gerard. Roz at yesterday’s tea and cakes at Hope Chapel  had passed on my contact info to him and he’d be interested in seeing my research about the Wrigley family. True to his word I chatted to him, shared my photos and told him that Diana has the bill of sales for Wrigleys’ renovation of Hope Chapel. ‘You should talk to Jean. She knows a lot about old time Hebden. She’s 92.’ Five minutes later just as I was leaving Jean appeared and I sat back down again for yet another cup of tea.


Concert in Heptonstall church  – the Hepton Singers


In Heptonstall it’s 9:30 pm as man and dog stand to watch the sunset . . . .


 . . . their view! 

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