Heritage and History in Cragg Vale
- Cragg Road being cleared of snow across the reservoir at Blackstone Edge in December 2010. Drifting snow had caused the road to be impassable for several days. Calderdale Council had kept a snow blowing machine last used in the 1970’s and were able to bring it out to clear the snow which the normal snowploughs were unable to move.
- “Pasture” was the only dwelling to survive around Withens Reservoir – another 12 were either submerged or forced to be abandoned - when Morley Town Council began construction of the reservoir, to provide an abundant and clean water supply for Morley’s industrial and population growth. Ironically, the people of Cragg Vale had to wait another 66 years - until September 1960 - for a main water supply.
- Water power was the driving force behind the industrialisation of the textile trade in Cragg Vale. Water was diverted from the river to flow into dams built close to the numerous factories that were being built, to be used to drive a water wheel that provided the power for the process. This picture is of the dam that was built to serve Turvin Mill, and the original sluice can still be seen which allowed the water to pass over the wheel.
- An early example of recycling in the valley! It was 1941 and local children were encouraged to collect waste materials to help with the war effort. From left to right we see Roland King, Colin Mayers, Tim Wheelwright, Robert Jones and Roland Ramsden doing their bit. The photo, taken across from the Co-op by the manager at the time was later sent to “Bird’s Custard” but we don’t know if it was ever used for advertising!
- The water flowing through the Spa, which can be found close to the river below Spa Terrace, has a very distinctive smell and taste. In medieval times people believed it had health giving properties. It was a tradition for locals to gather at the spa early in the Spring to celebrate the end of Winter and the start of the new season.
- A portable engine weighing over 4 tons was being taken down Church Bank on a horse-drawn wagon, when a check chain on one wheel broke, overpowering the horse. Despite the efforts of the driver to manoeuvre the bend, the outfit crashed through the wall, killing the horse as it fell into the brook. Mrs Simpson-Hinchliffe, travelling from Cragg Hall along the same road, had a lucky escape,thanks to the swift reactions of her chauffeur, Durdy
- The Post Office first opened in 1856 – 5 years before the Co-operative Society was established in the same row of cottages - and expanded into a grocery store when the Co-op closed in 1970. In 1986 when Mrs Reynolds retired the Post Office transferred to Cragg Holme, until its regrettable demise in 1989
- This arch was built to allow water to be diverted into the wheelhouse of the mill known as Lower or Cragg Mill, situated down the hillside opposite the Robin Hood Inn
- The ‘Penny steps’ were actually ‘toll steps’ or a Toll Path. Mill workers on their way to Castle Mill who were late could expect to be fined 3 pence – so it was worthwhile paying one penny to take the short cut down the steps to the mill to avoid losing part of their pay
- An example of one of several stone culverts (underground waterways) found in Cragg Vale. This culvert, under Bank Top Farm, supplied the water to some of the mills in Cragg Vale.
- In 1954 a cloud burst caused a torrent of water to course down the hillside from Robin Hood Rocks and completely wash away the cobbled road between Twist Clough and Upper Birks. The water reputedly flowed straight through the house on the left of the picture
- Often referred to as the original manor house of Cragg Vale, Old Cragg Hall dates back to the Jacobean age. It was restored from serious disrepair in the 1830s by Mr Christopher Rawson (of the family of bankers) and later owned by mill owner Mr Hinchliffe Hinchliffe. It is reputed to have that one essential feature of any self-respecting ancient property - its very own ghost in the form of a servant girl, alleged to have been murdered in the porch chamber.