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Listing the Hebden Mill Chimneys

From Julie C

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Has anyone got the stamina for a bit of a Project? Only the mill chimneys at Bridge Mill and Old Town Mill are protected by a Listing. They are an important part of our heritage and always vulnerable to destruction and alteration, especially as they are expensive to maintain.

I can think of quite a few -.other people might remember others:-

  • Crossley Mill.
  • Beehive Mill.
  • The one at the bottom of Mytholm in the hillside near Church Lane.
  • The two up Colden Valley.
  • The one by the old dyeworks on the Canl bank next to Fountsin St.
  • Wireform Mill, Robertshaw Road.

To get them Listed check on Calderdale's website for instructions and a form.You preferably need. Photos, a postcode or map reference, the name of the present owners if you can find it. Why you think it needs protection. 

Wireform has recently changed hands, and will soon be developed, it is thefore potentially vulnerable.

I do hope someone is up to making this happen. If a number of people did it perhaps you could do one each. I'm sorry I'm not able to do this job myself, only to set the ball rolling. 

Let us all know how you get on please via Hebweb here.

From Graham Barker

Sunday, 22 April 2018

While this sounds in theory a good idea I think as a courtesy a first move should to be to contact the owners and find out if they want their chimneys listing. Most will probably already have looked into this. 

It’s all very well regarding a chimney as a public asset when you don’t own it, but in most cases it’s a private responsibility with all sorts of very significant cost and liability implications. Attempting to list without prior consultation with an owner is inconsiderate and could cause more problems than it solves.

From Julie C

Monday, 23 April 2018

My point is it's a big project to get things Listed, it's obviously up to whoever wants to take up the Challlenge to go about it as they see fit.

If you can find the owner via the Land Registry or asking around, then for sure talk about it to them, but if they proved negative, I for one would still think it's worth doing. 

From Gideon Foster

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Julie, I have to say I am in two minds as to whether we should preserve the history.

On the one hand, they are obviously visually important to the character of Hebden Bridge. On the other, they serve as testament to places where people including children were subjected to very harsh conditions.

I would however , agree with Graham in that to expect owners to take on this additional responsibility and cost without consultation is maybe a little discourteous, and as you state in your first message about the cost of maintenance for these structures, you are in this proposed action actually increasing the cost of their maintenance and may in fact do more harm than the undoubted good you intend.

From Nigel W

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

I think the idea of saving them is a good and important one. It is part of how Hebden Bridge has developed over the years. If these go people in time will forget what Hebden was an industrial town with blackened buildings and chimneys belching out smoke.

As for Gideons comment on people including children in Hebden working working in harsh conditions, yes they did. That was life. That is history, good or bad. You cannot airbrush the bad bits out of history or the bits you don't like and pretend it did not happen. It how we learn and develop.

From Gideon Foster

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Nigel, I take your point re preserving history.

To my mind the best way of preserving that history if that's what people want is to allow these buildings to evolve and become places to live and work again. The point I was trying to make is that by putting listed status on them, which would presumably encompass the whole building, not just the chimney, you are actually increasing the costs and restricting such development and run the danger of the buildings just falling into disrepair as the costs and restrictions of doing so become prohibitive.

I think there is certainly proof that these buildings can evolve without any intervention whilst preserving their character, Pecket Mill and Oats Royd at Booth, spring to mind.

It will be interesting to know if 50 years from now people will be campaigning for the preservation of Hebden Bridge's countless coffee shops and bars on the same grounds as surely they also will form a important part of its history. 

From Julie C

Thursday, 26 April 2018

For information:-

  • Crossley Mill Chimney is already attached to the Nursery in that building.
  • The mill chimneys up Colden Valley are surrounded by the ruins of mills.
  • The one near the main road used to belong to, I think Pickles Mill, demolished years ago, housing on the site.
    Chimney at Hebble End Dyeworks, the mill is already converted to flats.
  • Beehive Mill, is busy with workshops and offices.

That leaves on my list, which might be missing some I accept, Calder Mill, ex Wireform, flooded out of business in 2015, now bought for the sum of £150,000 by a firm from Heywood who describe their business as 'demolishing wrecks' - I obviously don't know what that involves, but it doesn't sound that positive for the industrial heritage of our Valley. 

I've lived here long enough to see a number of beautiful buildings and chimneys demolished, or be burnt out. eg.
Redmans Mill, chimney and original waterwheel demolished.

The mill where the Co-op now stands, the stump of the chimney is just visible to the right of the car park entrance, that was pulled down on a Sunday morning to avoid officials.
Mill and chimney demolished at the far end of Lee Mill Road, housing now on site. 

There isn't much left now.

Don't let's lose any more.

From Tim M

Thursday, 26 April 2018

The Wireform chimney is a real landmark for the town, even if little else significant remains of the rest of the mill, so it is concerning to think it might be at risk.

Then others e.g. Colden Valley ones are more at risk from neglect (also the remains of Staups (?) mill in Jumble Hole Clough, which looks like a few repairs might safeguard what remains of the structure urgently). I don't think "consulting the owners" is always the necessary/right thing to do - wasn't the chimney at Old Town spot listed in a hurry because of threats to demolish overnight?

The threat of listing can be a catalyst to destruction, as with the co-op site. Recently an intact, ornate and important - but not properly listed - 16th century interior in Bristol's old city was destroyed by developers on advanced of a visit by heritage staff.