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Calderdale history timeline 1850 - 1900AD

Reform and Development

Birds-eye view of Copley VillageThe traumatic urban-industrial experience eventually set in motion a movement of social reform, however, in which Luddites and Chartists, friendly societies and co-operative groups, trade unions and reformers, industrial paternalism and the new municipal authorities all helped to remove the worst excesses of unfettered industrialism. Model villages and co-operative 'club' houses emerged alongside some of the more squalid mill terraces and overcrowded cellar dwellings, whilst the emerging civic pride came to be expressed in an increasing range of public buildings and amenities.

Hebden Bridge StationParliamentary enclosure represented a final phase of moorland reclamation for food production for the expanding population, leaving its mark in the high-lying laithe-house hill farms (which usually combined under one roof a house, barn and mistal), whilst huge reservoirs were constructed to quench the thirst and improve the sanitation of the new industrial communities. The transport revolution that had been initiated by canal and turnpike was completed during the 1840s with the opening of the first railway line through Calderdale.

John Whiteley and Sons, card makersIn Halifax the second half on the 19th century was marked by exceptional growth, with urban development taking the form of continuous westward and northward expansion which eventually engulfed the nearby settlements of King Cross, Mount Pellon and Haley Hill. Much of this later development was due to the dispersal of textile mills over the higher ground to the west, rather than their continued concentration in the Hebble Valley, following the provision of mains water and drainage.

Belle View public libraryAlongside this industrial development, schools and mechanics institutes, hospitals, almshouses and a union workhouse, parks, public baths, cemeteries, gas works, the public library (see opposite) and museum gradually took shape in the town and in the satellite communities to which it was increasingly linked by rail (from 1844), horse omnibus (from the 1850s) and tram (from 1898), serving as agencies of both social control and social construction and reflecting the dynamic interplay of forces which ensured a healthier but more hierarchically regulated environment for the expanding urban workforce.

Halifax Town HallThe Town Hall (1863) and Borough Market (1896), which formed a radical two-phase redevelopment of Halifax, provided a vivid expression of the corporate identity of the municipal authority, whilst large Victorian 'country' mansions (Belle Vue, 1857, and Bankfield, 1867) and ornate gothic churches (Square Church, 1857, and All Souls', 1859) boldly proclaimed the wealth and status of the new industrial entrepreneurs who helped to shape the cultural and spiritual values of Victorian society.

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