There’s a tendency to avoid people who are going through a difficult time “I’m sure she won’t want to be bothered with us” and when a town gets battered by some near catastrophe as did Hebden Bridge and the Calder Valley during the recent floods the tendency is similar – one doesn’t want to get in the way; or worse: be seen as ‘sightseers’, but of course, this is a time when small town economies need the boost visitors bring, so we set off a couple of weeks ago with the duel intention of bunging a few quid back into Hebden’s economy and doing a bit of work towards a commission. It wasn’t so easy to spend as many of the shops still had the builders in, laying new floors and replastering but we did get a very fine lunch in the town, did a little bit of shopping and then set off into the surrounding hills to work. I don’t really know the area but it was immediately obvious that there were plenty of subjects to paint and the light was vibrant and ever changing.
Old Town Mill is a former worsted mill of 1851 and later, with spinning mill, warehouse, boiler and engine rooms, chimney and north light sheds, constructed of stone with slate roofs. It grabbed my attention straight away but there is lots more to see in the area – Ted Hughes was born near here and Sylvia Plath is buried at Heptonstall across the valley. Anyway: go and take a look for yourself it’s a great day out.