For 30 years Calderdale has been a place The Prince of Wales has returned to again and again.
Halifax, Todmorden, Brighouse and Hebden Bridge have all received Royal visits from Prince Charles, most recently when he visited Hebden Bridge to see the extent of the damage after the flooding of June 2012.
Over three decades there have been projects under way in Calderdale that would appear to be close to the Prince’s heart, taking in regeneration schemes, sustainable growing and in the case of Eureka!, the national museum of childhood which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year with its best visitor numbers in two decades, he had a hand in bringing it to the town.
In February 1987 when he visited Halifax, one of his points of call was Halifax Piece Hall, then a decade on from when it was saved from demolition by a single vote margin. Thirty years on he will see Georgian era Grade I listed The Piece Hall following its ultimate restoration with the aim of boosting its, and Calderdale’s, international profile and showing how heritage and modern day business can work hand in hand.
He was back in Calderdale that December, meeting crowds in Halifax and being equally popular when he visited Brighouse. Half a decade later, he returned to Brighouse to give his backing to the Build A Brighter Brighouse campaign.
In February 1989 the headlines in the upper Calder Valley read “Charlie is our darling” as the Prince visited Todmorden and Hebden Bridge on Valentine’s Day, crowds turning out in their hundreds as he was gifted, among other things, a flower or two.
Through his ongoing involvement from the 1980s with Business in the Community, The Prince of Wales had become aware of a site close to Halifax Railway Station which was vacant and suggested it would be the perfect location for Eureka!, the museum of childhood, and also hoped that its creation would act as a catalyst for economic regeneration in Halifax.
Accordingly, several years down the line, in July 1992 he proudly returned to open the museum which last year opened another new gallery and has plans to expand both in Halifax and at a west cost Eureka! it hopes to establish on Merseyside.
In more recent years one of the Prince’s most high profile visits was his return to Todmorden in September 2010. Charles, who is also Duke of Cornwall, has his own farm estate in that county and was keen to learn more about the public planting and promotion of local food by Incredible Edible Todmorden.
As well as casting an eye over the planting beds and meeting the crowds he also enjoyed visiting Todmorden Market, showcasing local produce.
His interest in the area included that visit to Hebden Bridge in the aftermath of the serious flooding which struck the upper Calder Valley in June 2012.
When he returns next Friday, February 16, his itinerary for Halifax will see him assess how the borough has developed over three decades, with The Piece Hall, Square Chapel and bustling Dean Clough Mills forming part of a busy but thorough experience.