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Holmfirth - Is there more to it than Last of the Summer Wine?
holmfirth
Sid's cafe at Holmfirth
Holmfirth is a Pennine town near Huddersfield. Although it is now well-known around the world as the home of the BBC's long-running hit TV series The Last of the Summer Wine, it has a rich history as an old mill town and manufacturer of saucy seaside postcards!
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How to get to Holmfirth:
From the northwest: Leave the M62 at J23 Huddersfield. Follow signs 3 miles into Huddersfield and turn right onto the Ring Road. Leave the ring road at a major junction after 2 sets of lights, following signs for Holmfirth and Sheffield. A616. A quarter mile after leaving the ring road turn left after the first traffic lights, signs for Holmfirth and Holme Valley. Continue another 5 miles through Honley to Holmfirth.


From the northeast Travel south on the M1 past Leeds to J39 Denby Dale. Leave the motorway and turn right at the roundabout, A636 Denby Dale.Go strasight across a difficult junction with the A635 at the Sovereign pub on the left, through New Mill to Holmfirth

From the south and southeast: Leave the M1 motorway at junction 35a, A 616, signed for Manchester. Carry on this road past Stocksbridge, Langsett and across the A628. 1.5 miles after the A628 roundabout, turn left onto the B6106, which brings you into Holmfirth after about 4 miles.

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holmfirth
Holmfirth
Surrounded by small hamlets and villages the town has become a focal point for residents in the Holme Valley, with shops, banks and even its own picture house restored back to its 1912 prime.

The town also caters well for the passing tourist trade and has many pubs and cafes including the Crag Rats Theatre and Café Bar on Dunford Road.

This is an intimate studio theatre in Holmfirth hosting a wide range of theatrical and musical events plus comedy nights.

picturedrome

The Picturedrome - you can't miss it!

One of the pubs worth visiting in Holmfirth is the Rose and Crown, known locally as the 'Nook', off Victoria Square. It has achieved the distinction of appearing in all of the last 25 editions of the Good Beer Guide from 1976 to the new 2000 edition. It has run by the Roberts family for nearly 40 years.

Another pub worth a mention is The Old Bridge Hotel at Holmfirth which was named Huddersfield CAMRA Pub of the Year 2000.

An event not to miss in Holmfirth is the Holmfirth Folk Festival which has been an annual event in May since 1978.

This is descibed as the Pennine festival of music and dance and hundreds of tourists flock to the village for the weekend. A campsite is opened at Sands Recreation ground 5 minutes walk of the Civic Hall to cope with the extra people as all the Hotels and Bed and Breakfasts are fully booked.

holmfirth
Holmfirth: There any many paths leading up from the town into the wilds of the Pennines.

In traditional style, the festival closes with the Holmfirth Anthem - 'Pratty Flowers'. The whole community joins together to sing 'Abroad for pleasure as I was awalking it was one summer, summer's evening clear.'

On the edge of the peak disitrict, Holmfirth boasts of many fine walks and is a stone throw from the Pennine Way.

It is easily accessible by public transport with buses running from Meltham, Wakefield and Huddersfield.

The town is situated in the Holme Valley, the word "firth" was the Old English name for wood and woodland. The town grew up around a corn mill and bridge in the 13th century but the present church dates from the 1470s.

cobbled streets
Holmfirth:Cobbled streets and small alleys dominate the town

Three hundred years later Holmfirth expanded rapidly with the growing cloth trade grew and the production of stone and slates from the surrounding quarries increased. It was a prosperous town and in 1850 the very first steam train pulled into Holmfirth thanks to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. (Unfortunately Holmfirth no longer has a rail link - it was demolished in the mid-1960s).

A major tragedy struck the town in 1852: the famous Holmfirth Flood. Although there had been other floods, the 1852 flood was caused much more extensive loss of life and damage than any before or since.

Eighty-one people died as heavy rain caused the Bilberry Reservoir, near Holme Village, to burst its banks sending a torrent of waves crashing through Holmfirth.

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Holmfirth: The town is built directly next to the river

The reservoir was built in the 1840s to supply water to the mills in the Holme Valley who needed a constant supply of water to turn heavy waterwheels which were the chief source of power in the mills.

There were problems with its construction and maintenance and the Sunday before the flood, concerns were expressed over its safety.

Attempts were made to work the valves to eject the accumulating water but these were found to be out of order. However no alarm was raised in the village and at midnight waves started to come over the embankment and the the power of the water started to wash the dam away.

The water left a trail of death and devastation. Debris was pilled up to the second floor of a factory as four tonnes stones were washed down the hill as though they were pebbles on a beach.

wonky roof
Holmfirth: A town of history

The calamity attracted the attention of the whole nation even reaching the front page of the London Standard.

Queen Victoria sent a message of sympathy and a fund was set up to help those in need.

Bilberry Reservoir is still above Holmfirth today but feeds into the massive Digley Reservoir.

Despite the damage caused by the flood in 1852, in 1861 Holmfirth was a big and prosperous town, with a large number of mills and dye houses in the region. But the huge growth lead to problems and it became quite a rowdy area with fights between local residents and immigrants working in the mills and quarries.

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