Unity Street Tin Tabernacle
threatened with demolition

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Historical building and valued community workspace under threat.

Plans have been submitted to Calderdale Council to demolish the distinctive 'tin tabernacle' on Unity Street, Hebden Bridge. If successful, the application will build three narrow houses with garages on the same site.

Tin Tabernacles

The Unity Street 'tin tab' is an early example of this kind of Tin Tabernacles and is notable because of its evocative windows and unusual double-storey construction. Designed by prolific local architect William Henry Cockroft (1848-1921) it was constructed in 1886 as a Wesleyan Mission, serving the new hillside suburb of Woodend (above Nutclough Mill) on Keighley Road, a result of the industrial 'push' up the valley. Its location, in the centre of a densely populated area, demonstrates how integrated the church was with the community's daily lives.

Weavers' Strike 1906-7 and Mrs. Pankhurst

The late-Victorian chapel is a key site for local and political history. It was used as the headquarters of the fustian weavers during their strike in 1906-7. At New Year 1907, a procession of 400 weavers, headed by a brass band of striking weaver-musicians wound down from the site past Nutclough and into the town centre. When in the town centre the vast, peaceful, crowds were addressed by Mrs. Pankhurst, who spoke on the justice of the fustian weavers' wage claim and votes for Women.

Tin Tab

The building, currently used as a valuable workshop space by local residents, stands in the Hebden Bridge Conservation Area. Because of this there will be an extra 21 days of public consultation, and applicants will have to have to gain additional consent to demolish the 'tin tab'.

Unity Street is often lined either side with parked cars and residents are extremely concerned that the addition of 3 more residences will only add to the traffic problems and safety on this narrow street and the immediately surrounding area of Lees Road and Foster Lane.

Copies of the plans for the site are available to view at Hebden Bridge (10am-2pm) or in Northgate House, Halifax (9am-5pm).

Tin Tab

Local historian Jill Liddington said, "This building is distinctive in this area and serves as a local amenity. Its demolition will be a great loss. Please help us stop part of our rich local heritage from being destroyed by objecting to the application."

Objections to the plans must be received by Calderdale Council by Thursday 2 December and can be made on-line by going to Calderdale Council's planning comments page.

Alternatively, you can write (quoting the application number 04/02164/FUL) to:

Planning Services,
2nd Floor, Northgate House
Halifax, HX1 1UN

Please include your name and address with all comments.

The plans will also be considered by Hebden Royd Council at their meeting on Wednesday 8 December (7:30pm, open to the public).

Tin Tab

See the Tin Tab near the centre of the photo
- before Unity Street was built

Below: an enlarged section from this photo

Tin Tab

Updates to the story, including details of the extra public consultation process, will will posted on the HebWeb when we get them.

See update of 3rd Dec

Many thanks to Frank Woolrych and the Hebden Bridge Lit and Sci for the older photos of the Tin Tab

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