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Do you believe Happy Valley is an accurate portrayal of Hebden Bridge?

From Sophie Dyson

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Hi all, my name is Sophie and I am currently writing my A-level Geography NEA. I've decided to base mine around your gorgeous quirky town. 

It's based around these 3 main questions: how have endogenous /exogenous factors influenced Hebden Bridge? How do insider and outsider perspectives differ? And is it losing its place identity? 

So please whether you're a local or a frequent visitor please tell me your honest opinion of the place!  it would also be much apricated if you've seen Happy Valley/Shed your tears and walk away, tell me your opinions!! (this is for question 2)

Thank you so much for reading this, any help/comments I would be so grateful for. 

From Susan Quick

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Hi Sophie, I'm an off-comer who came to Hebden Bridge for a weekend conference at the Birchcliffe in 1993. Why am I still here?  I lived in Africa for close to 10 years and Hebden comes as close to the welcoming spirit of Africa that I have ever known in England. Plus I grew up in a village in South Gloucestershire and there's a village spirit here.

When I was house-hunting I visited the shops along the canal and walked into an African shop.  The African man told me I'd stayed in his hotel on the island of Lamu and invited me to visit his family.  I bought a house wth my partner Peter who invited a friend who lived in Manchester to visit our new home. Walking through the door was my next-door-neighbour in a village in the far West of Sudan.  He was a teacher at the boy's school.

I taught at the girl's school.

The first thing I did in Hebden Bridge was go to African dance classes led by Nigeria Jupo at the Trades Club and that's where I met all my new friends. And the African connection continues, another woman in Hebden Bridge came to visit me with an Eritrean man I'd been held up at gun-point with by a soldier we'd offered a lift to in Ethiopia.

I nearly died in a car wreck on ice on the tops in 1995, leaving me with a form of brain damage. There were always people at my comatose bedside in Halifax and when I came out of hospital 3 local people accompanied me to Somerset to have a programme of exercises designed for my recovery and more than 20 people helped me do the exercises daily.

The level of support I have received from local people and continue to receive is wonderful. As they say, Hebden Bridge really is the centre of the universe!  

From George Murphy

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

I think the two posts on this are my favourites this year - though I had to look up exogenous and endogenous.

It's worth remembering that Sally Wainwright was partly motivated to write Happy Valley by a film about young men committing suicide in Hebden. Also, she grew up in Sowerby Bridge and her stories veer off into Halifax and the grittier parts of the lower valley - and up onto run down farm houses in the hills.

Susan's heartwarming note captures some of the special spirit of the little town. 

As for further reading, A View from the Bridge was dark and brilliantly funny, HebWeb has a great archive and just now there's a host of acclaimed local poets and novelist/poet and journalist Ben Myers to enjoy.

For a more staid and factual account there's a book called Hippy Valley. 

Best wishes Sophie for your A Level!