Elland and Halifax, West Yorkshire, UK

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Comments (8)

Ian Stehbens on April 13, 2008

Elland (foreground) to Sowerby Bridge across the River Calder and Halifax on the dip slope in the background right. The Wainhouse Tower is a prominent landmark at Halifax. [Bearing 315 degrees from photopoint]

A.SKINNER on April 13, 2008

Thanks for posting these photo's Ian. Have you been up the Wainhouse Tower? I haven't but I my Auntie has. I hear it's a great place to spy on folk :) Anita

Ian Stehbens on April 13, 2008

Dear Anita,

That was why it was built! To spite the neighbours and therefore to have a superior spy on them. Poor tragic Mr Wainhouse!!

I fell in love with Halifax and the Dales. My penfriend for many years was the geography lecturer at Percy Whit College and he was an author who wrote River Series: Calder, Aire, Derwent.. and we have spent time with him and his wife in Halifax in 2005 and 1978 and they came to Australia in between. There was much teaching of each other about our respective environments.

But I could never be a local..I wouldn't patronise the "chippy" often enough.

Kind regards,

Ian

A.SKINNER on April 14, 2008

Apparently Ian, John Wainhouse proposed the tower to be an astronomical and physical observatory. The design was so elaborate it couldn't be used for that purpose. The feud with the industrialist Sir H.Edwards I think spiralled out of control:) Anita

Ian Stehbens on April 14, 2008

It matters not, Anita, whether anyone else gets to know about the Wainhouse Tower from our chat but I thought I would share with you what John Ogden, my geographer friend, wrote:

"Originally conceived as a chimney for the nearby ... Dyeworks lower down the valley, it was built on an eminence so that the smoke was blown well away from the adjacent houses - one of which was Bel-Air, Wainhouse's own abode.

"..Sir Henry Edwards, ...who lived in the nearby house built a high wall to stop Wainhouse looking into his land. Edwards it seems despised the Wainhouse family as nouveau riche. In retaliation wainhouse adapted the chimney, since he had sold the dyeworks in the meantime, to permit access to the top thus making Edwards' wall completely ineffective in its purpose.

"Built between 1871 and 1875 ... the brick chimney, which was never used for its original purpose, was encased in stone and completed by the addition of a highly ornate structure on top. ..253 feet.. 403 steps the breathless climber achieves... a breathtaking panoram of Upper Calderdale. The broad sweep of the Calder and its attendant routeways, the clusters of farm buildings, hamlets and roads, random grey punctuations of human ingenuity among the greenery of nature; the fields, patchwork patterns on the undulating hills, are revealed before the eye. The choking mass of industry in the valley and the rash of housing and factories that is Halifax stretches horizonwards to the west, the north and the east bringing ample reward to those who make the effort to plod stoically up the spiral staircase with periodically placed 'arrow-slit' windows let in to the side."

THought you might find this of interest..

Kind regards,

Ian

A.SKINNER on April 14, 2008

Thanks Ian, the view from the top would have been very different in 1875. I should think that only on a windy day could you view the surrounding countryside. the smoke from all the house and mill chimneys must have made life very unpleasant. I remember when people in the Bradford area went on to smokeless fuel and much of the industrial pollution declined. I was totally amazed that I was able to see across Bradford. What an amazing difference it made! Anita

Ian Stehbens on April 15, 2008

Dear Anita,

I have seen some photos from the late 19th Century that look over Halifax...or should I say that portray the pall of the horrendous air pollution. However, there is a photo taken one "smokeless day" about 1890 that shows all the chimney stacks and none of the tall ones is emitting any smoke! I have no idea what was happening that no factories were working. Never the less, there is plenty of pollution emitting from house chimneys. I published that photo as a frontipiece to a Chapter on Planned Change in one of my books on Urban Geography some years ago.

The view taken from the bank on the NE of Halifax shows Wainhouse Tower clearly on the SW horizon.

What a difference it is today in Yorkshire with clean air and clean cities to complement the wonderful northern hospitality!

Kind regards,

Ian

Ian Stehbens on November 20, 2008

Wikipedia Halifax, West Yorkshire

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  • Uploaded on April 13, 2008
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    by Ian Stehbens

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