Hebden Bridge: 4th funkiest town in the World
Sunday, May 1, 2005
A feature in the April issue of highlife, the British Airways flight magazine, has provoked another flurry of regional and national media attention on Hebden Bridge. According to this magazine, our town is the fourth most "funky" town in the world.
To our knowledge, this has so far appeared in the Halifax Courier, Look North, Real Radio and Radio Five. Online dictionaries define funky as "modern and stylish in an unconventional and stylish way."
More funky than Hebden Bridge are Daylesford, Australia (1), Tiradentes, Brazil (2) and Burlington, Vermont (4).
See scan of the feature: here is the text from the article:
Once, coal barges would glide through this lively, newly upwardly mobile town. Now, it is inhabited by home workers, media types and academics who can't afford a place in Leeds and Manchester. It is also the self-confessed lesbian capital of the North; according to one website (so it must be true), heterosexual women are outnumbered six to one by their Sapphic sisters.
With its cool liberal, lesbian credentials, it is appropriately stacked with organic cafés and delis, tempered by servers who are exponents of that chrming, "speak as I find" northern bluff. Even the Laughing Gravy (The Birchcliffe Centre. Tel: 44 (0)1422 844425) in the basement of an old chapel serves just one mouth-watering veggie menu every Friday or Saturday. Take it or leave it.
Independent shops thrive here - the quirkier the better - and a particular favourite is the The Old Treehouse. Inevitably, the Trades Club (Holme Street. Tel: +44 (0)1422 845265; www.tradesclub.info) hosts regular alternative and, of course, world music gigs. Moyles Hotel (New Road. Tel: +44 (0)1422 845272), as well as a good place to stay, is a hive of contemporary music and poetry gigs and, naturally enough, has a well regarded organic restaurant
Ted Hughes lived in the area, and his first wife, Sylvia Plath, is buried in nearby Heptonstall. Anyone can book on to a creative course at Lumb Bank, Hughes' old house and now an Arvon Foundation creative writing centre (tel: +44(0)1422 843714; www.arvonfoundation.org).
It is easy to keep fit in Hebden Bridge, thanks to fabulous mountain biking and walks in the surrounding Pennines. For less strenuous fat-burning, there are brisk strolls along the canal, as well as packhorse trails to follow. If you're a keen rambler, book into Latham Farm (tel: +44(0)1422 843800), a listed building on the edge of the moor along the Calderdale Way.
Sheila Tordoff, editor, Hebden Bridge Times We're a Funky town? I'm not surprised - it's a very lively, tolerant place. We've got a wide spectrum of people; lesbians are a thriving part of the community, and we attract an intellectual element. They all seem to spark off each other. Hebden Bridge has always had a reputation for being arty-farty, and since the 1930s has been seen as a bit off-the-wall.
Things to do? Our cinema holds themed evenings. When they showed Titanic, we all did fancy dress and drank iceberg cocktails. We take things just a little bit further here.