500 years of the Hebden Bridge2010: Year of celebrations
- Hebden Bridge 500

Year of events celebrates the past, welcomes the future

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

With parades, packhorses, prose and photos, Hebden Bridge is gearing up for a year-long celebration.

In 2010, Hebden’s packhorse bridge will be 500 years old. And this landmark bridge, originally built to smooth the progress of trade, has seen Hebden become a fair-trade town with more than its fair share of creativity and innovation.

Around 30 different groups will be pooling their efforts in a programme of events – ranging from music performances to costumed re-enactments, from exhibitions to food and film festivals – in a shared celebration called HB500.

“You can see the bridge as the start of a whole new era for the area – not just for Hebden, but for the villages and towns around that became more accessible,” said Robin Dixon, chair of the Hebden Bridge 500 organising committee. “The bridge is now the focal point of a town known for its creativity, uniqueness, independence, environmental awareness and community spirit.”

Back in 1510, when Henry VIII had been on the throne for a year, a rickety wooden bridge was rebuilt in stone with money raised from local collections and benefactors. It was recognised as vital to the local economy because it allowed wool-laden packhorses to cross Hebden Water and make their journey through the valley from Halifax to Heptonstall, Burnley and Rochdale.

Year of celebrations - Hebden Bridge 500

As a result Hebden Bridge gradually developed into a thriving textile town. These days, its renaissance has brought the accolade of fourth funkiest town in the world and a reputation as a hotbed of creative businesses.

The full programme of events is to be launched in the New Year.

See also

Hebden500 website

500 faces of Hebden Bridge

Five hundred words about Hebden Bridge

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