Wednesday, 30 May 2018
Hebden Bridge central
The centre of Hebden Bridge is attractively pedestrianised, allowing the pubs and cafés to have outdoor seating. There is often some entertainment going on. As I passed through, the buskers must have been having a break, though their gear was still arranged around the sculpture. The artwork depicts a fustian cutter's blade, referencing the textile trade around which the town grew up. (Fustian is the generic term for corduroy and moleskin.)
The town sits at the confluence of Hebden Water and the River Calder, which is why it is susceptible to flooding. The earliest settlement was up on the hill at Heptonstall, which became a centre for handloom weaving. The ancient packhorse bridge over Hebden Water, that was used to bring cloth down into the valley, still stands (below). As the Industrial Revolution took hold, Hebden Bridge expanded rapidly and many mills were built, using the readily available water and steam power to drive their machinery.