The Upper Calder Valley in West Yorkshire saw the birth and young growth of the changes in industrial production in the late 18th and early 19th centuries often referred to as the Industrial Revolution, which is arguably the most important change to happen to mankind since the invention of language. It altered the whole sustainability of the area – the social, economic and environmental aspects of peoples’ lives and work.
As such, it is of global significance and yet the evidence is permanently disappearing as the mills shut down, the mill ponds and goits dry up and the landscape changes back to its natural state. At present there are still small fragmented, tantalising clues to this not so distant past, both in the landscape itself and also in the local records and family history papers, the archives of record offices and local history societies.
Today water power has gained a new lease of life, and new technology can be used to harness the power that once turned the waterwheels. So once again these mills are symbols of a sustainable way of providing power in the landscape.
This project was funded by The Local Heritage Initiative, a national grant scheme that helps local groups to investigate, explain and care for their local landscape, landmarks, traditions and culture. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) provides the grant but the scheme is a partnership, formerly administered by the Countryside Agency with additional funding from Nationwide Building Society.
Thanks also to Hebden Bridge Town Council