Local History


Here you can find a brief history of some of the places I visit and take my photographs

If you would like to see more images from any of the areas below, please visit my Art Store



whitworth village History

Whitworth is a small town and civil parish in Lancashire, England, amongst the foothills of the Pennines between Bacup, to the north, and Rochdale, to the south. It had a population of 7,500 at the 2011 Census.

Whitworth spans the Whitworth Valley, a 7 square miles (18.1 km2) area consisting of Healey, Broadley, Whitworth, Facit and Shawforth, linked by the A671 road. Several smaller hamlets are now part of Whitworth, such as Cowm Top. This was removed to make way for Cowm Reservoir.

Whitworth is twinned with Kandel, Germany.

Healey Dell

Healey Dell History

Healey Dell nature reserve is a wooded valley area along the path of the River Spodden. It is situated between Hallfold in Whitworth and Spotland in Rochdale. Through-out the “Dell” there are remnants of the Industrial age, including the derelict remains of a 17th century corn mill and of course the stunning Viaduct. The Viaduct was built in 1867 from local stone and is at the highest point 31.5m above the river, It has 8 arches each spanning 24m. It was a part of the Rochdale to Bacup line which ran from 1870 to 1947 although a part continued to run until 1963 transporting goods.

Fairies Chapel

Fairies Chapel waterfall Healey Dell Rochdale

The famous falls of Healey Dell are so named from several legends including tales of a Fairy King and a visit to a local witch from Robin Hood himself. What ever the legend; the Falls are a stunning sight and the sound of the (Fairies) at high water is tremendous.

Cowm Reservoir

Cowm Reservoir Whitworth Rochdale History

Whitworth’s water supply originally came from Cowm Reservoir until it became polluted in the 1970s. The former reservoir now provides water ski facilities for the able bodied and also for the BDWSA – British Disabled Water Skiers Association. It’s a popular walk for local people along the levelled footpath that now encompasses the reservoir. Nearby stone quarries are still in use and provided the stone for London’s Trafalgar Square. Tree planting schemes, (including a Life for a Life Memorial Forest at Cowm Reservoir) are encouraging birds and wildlife to return to the area. This is also hiding the landscape scars caused by excessive stone quarrying.

Whitworth Square

whitworth square, red lion by Healey Life Photography history

Whitworth Square is a designated conservation area. 200 years ago the pioneering Whitworth Taylor Doctors had their practice here. John Taylor was formerly a blacksmith and horse doctor. He lived at Whitworth House, just below the Red Lion public house. The Whitworth Doctors were local bone setters. They treated patients from London and overseas, including the then Archbishop of Canterbury. St. Bartholomew’s Church is a grade 2 listed building. The building features many gargoyles

Whitworth Rushcart

whitwroth morris men rushcart By Healey life photography history

Whitworth’s Rushcart parade is one of only 4 still remaining in Northern England. Whitworth’s being unique among them, as Whitworth’s Rushcart is the only one to cover the cart in locally picked heather. The tradition dates back to the 14th century (in its earliest form). In the early days Straw was gathered before winter for use in the local parish churches as a floor covering. Due to Straw being a valuable commodity in the pennines (due to less agricultural lands) Rushes were collected. In the 19th century the need for rushes on church floors declined it became more of a ceremony then a necessity. Whitworth then began to collect heather rather the rushes for a more decorative cart.

In the early 20th Century the practise died out only to be revived again in the 70’s only to stop again in the 90’s. The tradition has now again been revived and attracts 1000’s of people each year.  Dancers accompany the cart along Market street. 


Todmorden history town stone

Todmorden  is a market town and civil parish in the Upper Calder Valley in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, England. It is 17 miles (27 km) from Manchester and in 2011 had a population of 15,481. Todmorden is at the confluence of three steep-sided Pennine valleys and is surrounded by moorlands with outcrops of sandblasted gritstone.

The historic boundary between Yorkshire and Lancashire is the River Calder and its tributary, the Walsden Water, which run through the town. The administrative border was altered by the Local Government Act 1888 placing the whole of the town within the West Riding.

The town is served by Todmorden and Walsden railway stations.

Todmorden’s twin towns are Roncq, Nord, Hauts-de-France, France and Bramsche, Lower Saxony, Germany.


Walsden is a large village in the civil parish of Todmorden in the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale, West Yorkshire, England, though historically in Lancashire and close to the modern boundary with Greater Manchester. It lies along the A6033 Keighley to Littleborough road in the Walsden Valley, a branch of the Upper Calder Valley, and is 1.8 miles (2.9 km) south of Todmorden and 3.9 miles (6.3 km) north of Littleborough.

Walsden railway station, on the Leeds-Todmorden-Manchester line. It was originally opened in 1841 and re-opened 10 September 1990, having been closed for almost 30 years.

The canal and A6033 between the former Bird in’th Hand pub and the Bellholme football pitches was also the only place to be bombed in Todmorden during the Blitz; the blasts breached the Rochdale Canal and broke a water main on Rochdale Road. Multiple small craters can still be picked out on both hillsides, one of which contains the Summit Tunnel trans-Pennine railway line, which may have been an alternative target for a raid primarily aimed at the Manchester area; its easterly Yorkshire end is less than ¼ mile away.

Rochdale Canal

Rochdale canal, history

The Rochdale Canal is a navigable broad canal in Northern England, between Manchester and Sowerby Bridge, part of the connected system of the canals of Great Britain. Its name refers to the town of Rochdale, in Greater Manchester, through which it passes.

The Rochdale is a broad canal because its locks are wide enough to allow vessels of 14 feet width. The canal runs for 32 miles (51 km) across the Pennines from the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield Basin in Manchester to join the Calder and Hebble Navigation at Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire.

Stoodley Pike

Stoodley Pike history

Stoodley Pike is a 1,300-foot (400 m) hill in the south Pennines, noted for the 121 feet (37 m) Monument at its summit. which dominates the moors of the upper Calder Valley in the civil parish of Todmorden near the villages of Mankinholesand Lumbutts, West Yorkshire, England. The monument was designed in 1854 by local architect James Green, and completed in 1856 at the end of the Crimean War.

The monument replaced an earlier structure, started in 1814 and commemorating the defeat of Napoleon and the surrender of Paris. It was completed in 1815, after the Battle of Waterloo (Napoleonic Wars), but collapsed in 1854 after an earlier lightning strike, and decades of weathering. Its replacement was therefore built slightly further from the edge of the hill. During repair work in 1889 a lightning conductor was added. The tower has since been struck by lightning on numerous occasions, no notable structural damage is evident. There is evidence to suggest that some sort of structure existed on the site. The monument is located approximately 2 miles southwest of Hebden Bridge and approximately 2.5 miles east of Todmorden town centre.

Centre Vale Park

centre vale park todmorden History

Centre Vale Park has been awarded the coveted Green Flag status and the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Fields status. It is located a short walk (approx 600 metres) from Todmorden town centre along the A646 Burnley Road. The park consists of 33 hectares of mature oak and beech woodland intersected by woodland walks and open parkland. The main body of the park landscape also includes formal memorial gardens.

Inside the park there are several pieces of local art, including tree carvings by the sculptor John Adamson.

Also in the park are the reconstructed remains of Centre Vale Mansion, next to Todmorden War Memorial in the Garden of Remembrance, During the First World War the mansion was used as a military hospital

Lucky Dog

lucky dog todmorden history

As made famous by Derren Brown’s 2011 TV Show ‘The Experiments’, the ‘Lucky Dog’ could bring good luck your way.

The life size ‘Lucky Dog’ was carved from a block of expanded polystyrene. It was then cast directly into steel at the Todmorden foundry of Weir Minerals, in a lost-wax process.

The sculpture was donated to Centre Vale Park and is installed next to the Memorial Gardens.

The sculpture has gained a reputation for bringing good luck to anybody that gives it a friendly pat.

Todmorden Cricket Club

todmorden cricket club history

Todmorden Cricket Club is a cricket club in the Lancashire League, which plays its home games at Centre Vale in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. Until the administrative border was changed in 1888, the historic boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire ran through the centre of the ground. The club has won the Lancashire League on five occasions and won the Worsley Cup eight times.

Todmorden Town Hall

Todmorden Town Hall

Todmorden has a Neo-Classical town hall (built 1866–1875) which dominates the centre of the town. The Town Hall straddles Walsden Water, and was situated in both Lancashire and Yorkshire until the administrative county boundary was moved in 1888. Designed by John Gibson of Westminster, this imposing building has a northern end which is semi-circular. One interesting external feature of the town hall is the pediment to the front elevation. This reflects the fact that it straddled the boundary as it depicts the main industries of the two counties. The fine carved stonework has two central female figures on a pedestal. The left-hand sculpture represents Lancashire (cotton spinning and weaving industries), and the right-hand one Yorkshire (wool manufacturing, engineering and agriculture).