From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

Hebden Bridge

53°44'32.1"N 2°00'54.9"W
SD 9909227318

  • History
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Hebden Bridge is a small market town in the Upper Calder Valley, west of Halifax, Yorkshire.

The town started life where the Halifax to Burnley packhorse route dropped into the valley and crossed the River Hebden where the old bridge stands. The steep hills with fast-flowing streams and access to major wool markets meant that Hebden Bridge was ideal for water-powered weaving mills and the town developed during the 19th and 20th centuries. The wool trade was served by the Rochdale Canal and the Manchester & Leeds Railway.

During the Second World War Hebden Bridge was designated a reception area and took in evacuees from industrial cities. Two bombs fell on Calderdale during the war.

Space is limited in the town due to the steep valleys and lack of flat land. In the past, this led to upstairs/downstairs houses known as over and under dwellings, these were houses built in terraces with 4 to 5 storeys. The upper storeys face uphill while the lower ones face downhill with their back wall against the hillside. The bottom 2 levels would be one house while the upper 2 or 3 levels would be another. This also led to unusual legal arrangements such as the flying freehold, where the shared floor/ceiling is wholly owned by the under dwelling.