Saturday, 4 January 2020

Sowerby Bridge, New Years Day

Sowerby Bridge is a market town in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire. The town originally was a crossing point for travellers to pass over the River Calder whilst journeying between Yorkshire and Lancashire. The town takes it's name from the nearby hill settlement of Sowerby and the bridge that crossers the River Calder near the town centre. The town grew during the industrial revolution as textiles and engineering industry was created using the Rivers Calder and Ryburn to power the mills. The town suffered as these industries declined and it has now become more of a tourism destination popular with canal boaters.

The town is the confluence of the River Calder & Ryburn, the Junction for the Calder & Hebble Navigation & Rochdale Canal's.  The canal was blocked in Sowerby Bridge from the 1960's until the 1990's, the reopening of this section through Tuel Lane tunnel and the building of the deepest inland canal lock in the UK allowing boats to travel through Yorkshire to Manchester for the first time in over a quarter of a century.

The town was also a railway junction for over 70 years when the Rishworth Branch line headed away from the station up the Ryburn Valley until closure in the 1950's. Originally planned as a shorter alternative route to Littleborough the line was only completed to Rishworth. The station was a much larger one because of it's junction status until the closure of the branch and the main station building being destroyed by fire in 1978 and demolished shortly after.

The town is often heavily congested with traffic, so knowing this would not be the case early on New Years Day I took an opportunity to picture the main streets whilst traffic was minimal. The walk I took was along the main street from Pye Nest to the east of the town through to the West End area of Sowerby Bridge, picturing some places of interest away from the main route.

It should be pointed out that the building often referred to as the town hall was never actually Sowerby Bridge Town Hall. It was built in the hope that Sowerby Bridge Council would purchase the hall from the developers but this never happened. The clock is owned by the people of Sowerby Bridge and the building until recently was a branch of Lloyds Bank.

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All the pictures remain the copyright of Colin Green.