Close Up North on Hebden BridgePosted by Richard Hull, Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Hi Jackie, I'm sorry I'll be away when you're filming, but just thought I'd add my thoughts. As a sociologist, my judgement would be that the reason HB continues to attract people interested in alternative lifestyles is neither to do with the Upper Valley's history of non-conformism (if that were true then Todmorden would be a more likely venue) nor to do with economics (why would such people continue to come to an area with something like a 50% premium on house prices compared with neighboring places?).
I have been here 14 years, my partner 31 years (she was one of the first 'new arrivals' in 1970), and I think we would both say that the main reason is that there are many people living here who work very hard to ensure that the possibilities for alternative lifestyles are maintained. That means working very hard to help people, when needed; to maintain places and avenues for them to meet (especially for instance the Trades Club, the activities of the Hebden Bridge web-site and Pennine Pens, the people working at Suma wholefoods co-op and other co-ops, the pubs and shops which display posters and host meetings; the annual Arts Festival; the many various community activities; etc).
A second major reason is sheer beauty - it is just so pleasing to the eyes and all other senses.