Kebroyd Mills – Reclaimed by Nature
An exhibition of photographs by Ruth Beazley
What Ruth says about her photographs – I have lived at Mill Bank near Ripponden for thirty years and have watched nature take over the remains of many local mills as they have fallen into disrepair. The four mills of Kebroyd for silk, cotton and wool processing were the main employer for people living in Mill Bank during the late 19th century. It was a devastating blow when John Hadwen’s company at Kebroyd went bankrupt in 1901. The village never recovered. People drifted away. Millbank itself fell into a state of neglect and disrepair.
Eventually in the 1960’s a decision was made to demolish most of the village. A challenge was orchestrated by Ernest and June Hall and eventually the village was made a Conservation Area in the 1970’s.
During World War II the site was requisitioned as a training venue for over a hundred Royal Engineers. After fabric processing closed the Blackburn and Sutcliffe dye works occupied the site until 2001, when it was abandoned. An intense fire in 2006 brought down most of the structure, following which the site was levelled. A few days after the 2006 fire, I visited the site with my camera.
Laura Annie Willson MBE – Suffragette, Builder, Engineer
One our current exhibitions portrays the life of Laura Annie Willson, an extraordinary Halifax woman who rose from obscurity in the early twentieth century and then disappeared from view after her death in the 1940s. Before WW1 she became a prominent suffragette in Halifax, and was imprisoned twice. During the war, she was instrumental in getting women into factories to help the war effort. She set up one of the first works canteens in the engineering firm she ran with her husband [Willson Lathes], which became a model for others. She was awarded the MBE for her efforts. After the war she was a founder member of the Women’s Engineering Society, later its President, and later set up an electrical engineering company to get the new power source into more rural areas. If that was not enough, she decided something needed to be done about the poor housing stock available for working people, so she became a house builder. There are still four housing estates dotted across Halifax which she designed and built.
Yorkshire through Lens and Brush
– A Respective of Photographs and Artwork by Terry Sutton
Terry Sutton has been capturing the changing lives and scenery of West Yorkshire for more than sixty years. We are delighted to present a retrospective of his vast output of photographs, sketches and paintings. In the 1970’s he began a series of illustrations based on photographs of the relentlessly changing industrial landscapes of what was once the “industrial West Riding”. Cinemas, chapels, railway stations, warehouses, mills and other buildings were abandoned and left for years to fall into dereliction. To many, these once important servants of our communities became eyesores, for Terry, the textures, colours and strange beauty provided inspiration for his first book, Yesterday’s Yorkshire – A Celebration of the Industrial West Riding published in 2001. His second book Hard Graft – Yorkshire at Work pays tribute to Yorkshire’s rich heritage of craftmanship and industrial achievement.