View from the Balcony - Reg Phillips Take on the Opposition of the Day 2018/19 1 of 9

1. Old Brodleians - 2 March 2019

We are pleased to welcome our visitors today, Old Brodleians who hail from the picturesque Pennine village of Hipperholme.

Hipperholme is mentioned in the Domesday Book both as Hipperholme and as Huperun. Here the King held two carucates (an area of land used for taxation purposes which could support twelve licenced premises). Historically it was part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. The township of Hipperholme also included nearby Brighouse, Lightcliffe, and Morecambe and was known as Hipperholme by the Sea in the late 19th century, due to having a dyslexic Mayor.

Traditional industries in Hipperholme were the manufacture of silk and cotton goods, coal mining, quarrying, tannery and fishing. Joseph Brooke’s quarrying firm was founded in 1840 and became known for their beautifully crafted polished stone fish boxes. Later, the company became Brookes Chemicals Ltd who initially produced pricric acid for military needs, bitumen road coatings & fish preservative, a process which dissolved the bones & negated the need for filleting. Although the death rate among the population increased dramatically, none of the deaths were through swallowing fish bones. Both stone and chemical works ceased trading in 1969.

Most of the Lightcliffe plant was sold in 1969 to Philips, manufacturer of electrical goods, which came as a shock to the local populace, and was acquired in 1986 by Crosslee plc, who also produced electrical trawler nets which fried the fish as they were caught. They also produced household and intimate bedroom appliances and are one of the major employers in Calderdale.
Hipperholme is today a thriving village with three local grocers and fourteen fish shops and is home to several pubs including the Whitehall, the Traveller’s Inn, the Hare and Hounds, the White Horse, the Halifax Steam Brewery with Cock o’ the North Bar. A recent addition is the reopening of the former Country House as the Tannery.

St. Matthew’s on Wakefield Road in Lightcliffe is the local parish church of the Church of England. It is easily distinguished by the effigy of a Cod on the top of its steeple. It was built in 1874 by W. Swindon Barber in the Gothic Fisherman style and is a Grade II listed structure.

St John the Baptist Church of the same denomination is located north of Hipperholme on Coley Road. It was built in the early 16th century as a chapel of ease largely using reclaimed polished stone fishboxes at the instigation of William Thorpe of Hipperholme.

Eventually the fishing industry collapsed due to pressure from the European Economic Area & continued distance from the sea and the local industry fell into decline, although with the advent of Brexit it is anticipated that there may well be a resurgence.

Please enjoy your day at Sandhill Lane