How heritage was so very nearly lost...

Nick Wilding
Nick Wilding

Five years ago Hebden Bridge celebrated a remarkable milestone: the 500th anniversary of the ancient packhorse bridge, built in 1510 at the start of the reign of King Henry VIII.

Now local film producers Nick and son Gabriel Wilding, of Excalibur Productions, have gone even further back in time to mark seven centuries of local heritage in a film montage – “Hebden Bridge: A 700 Year Story (and how it was nearly lost)” - which whisks the audience from recent events, such as last year’s Tour de France, through landmarks down the ages to 1314 and the building of Bridge Mill, the town’s most venerable structure, writes Issy Shannon.

The focus is very much on the mid-20th century when the very fabric of the town was under threat from demolition. In collaboration with Calder Civic Trust, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary, Nick has drawn on a huge variety of film and photographs from local collections, highlighting the important part played by the Trust in saving the town’s unique character and heritage. “It’s thanks to their dedication that the Calder Valley’s rich and historical landscape has survived”, Nick says.

Interviews with local residents at the heart of the huge changes also play an important part and the show ends with a question and answer session by Nick and current and founder members of the Trust. Screening at The Picture House on Saturday, May 2, starts at 5pm (doors open at 4.30pm). “A 700 Year Story” offers an invaluable opportunity to discover all about a town dubbed the 4th “quirkiest” in the world - and recently named in a national survey as one of the most fashionable places in the UK!