Spring Fever

Celebrating May Day, the age-old dance around the maypole remained a much-loved tradition in the upper Calder Valley for several decades after this photo was taken in 1894. Click image to enlarge CT247

In days gone by, when spring was heralded with a maypole in virtually every town and village in the country, Hebden Bridge folk trudged up to Long Royd meadow where the event was celebrated in style. Children from Birchcliffe Chapel are pictured in 1894, about to begin the intricate weaving of the ribbons around the maypole.

A band of musicians stands ready to accompany the festivities and a large crowd has gathered to take part in the fun. By the end of the 1900s many tradition were in decline but maypole dancing was undergoing a revival that lasted well into the 20th century.

One time-honoured custom, however, that of carters decorating their horses and wagons on May Day and parading through the town was less in evidence in the Calder Valley, reported in the local press.

Postcards from the Crags arrived on doormats all over the country
- no doubt to the envy of the recipients! BT865 ALGC

The famous Lord Holme Refreshment Rooms, Hardcastle Crags,
in 1932 run by Ernest Greenwood who aptly advertised himself
as a "Pleasure Caterer." Ernest Greenwood Ad

Read the full story in Milltown Memories, issue 15