Sowerby Bridge


Sowerby Bridge is a small mill town in Calderdale in West Yorkshire, almost a suburb of Halifax in fact. Among it’s lesser distinctions is that it is my place of birth, and indeed that of my father before me. So although it’s not a place I visit very often, I do have a fair number of nostalgic connections there. When we visited to take these photographs there was, as I think is often the case in such circumstances, a sense both that much has changed, and that much has remained the same.

Hanover Street, where our family had it’s being, looks much the same; the front doors and smart windows are new, there are cars parked up and down the street, the lavatory block has gone but the houses have that same solid look, and the view across to the fields of Norland is the same that I remember and tried to draw as a child.

Bolton Brow – the main street – and most of its buildings are the same, though with different uses now. I remember going to the cinema when on holiday as a young teenager – gone the way of many such it’s now a bingo hall! Perhaps the biggest change is on and around the Rochdale Canal that winds through and to some extent under the streets. That Sowerby Bridge should have a marina seems totally unlikely, but there it is as a focal point for tourism on that same canal. That’s a good thing surely – keeping the waterways alive and functioning even if, as with the mills and their great chimneys, the function itself is very different.

So; a brief look on a cold day, fuelled by a good cup of coffee in Gabriel’s Coffee Lounge, which certainly wasn’t there before! On a list of places to re-visit and perhaps look at photographically (as well as nostalgically) in greater depth.

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