Let’s move to Hebden Bridge, West Yorks: a rain-soaked paradiseFeb 23, 2018 16:30
If the roots of its liberal and creative image are a mystery, its appeal is obvious
What’s going for it? Nobody knows why Hebden Bridge became “Hebden Bridge”, officially the quirkiest/kookiest/koolest/most LGBTQ-friendly/least chain-store-y etc small town in the universe. I have asked. I asked the people in the herb shop on the narrowboat, at the market, on the towpath, at the Trades Club. I asked Urban Boffins in the university faculty I teach in. Nobody knows. It looks like other northern, post-industrial former mill towns: canal, steep valley, Methodist chapels, chimneys... It feels, though, utterly different, a little rain-soaked paradise. You’d never have guessed it from Hebden Bridge’s starring role in Happy Valley’s grimfest; nor from local boy Ted Hughes’ poem Stubbing Wharfe: “the hopeless old stone trap”. Two decades after he wrote that in the 1950s, though, others saw what he couldn’t – artists, hippies and conservationists doing up its cheap, knackered buildings. Today the town feels festive even on a wet winter Tuesday: all co-ops, carrot cake and bunting – blunt Yorkshire wit, though, perfectly tempering the earnestness.
The case against… Such is the demand to live here, and such is the shortage of space, you’ll pay a premium to move in. Floods: though how well it bounced back from the last, in 2016. Cosmopolitan it may be, but it’s still a very small town. Occasionally tends towards over-kookiness. Continue reading...