Hebden Bridge unveils blue plaques to its co-operative history

The town celebrates International Co-operatives Day with a celebration of its 19th century fustian co-op

Hebden Bridge will remember one of the country’s most famous worker-run co-ops when blue plaques are unveiled in the town centre on International Co-operatives Day, Saturday 6 July.

Hebden Bridge Fustian Manufacturing Co-operative Society traded successfully from 1870 until 1918 when it was acquired by another co-operative organisation, the CWS.

During its time the society received a stream of national and international visitors, keen to see for themselves how ordinary workers ran their own mill. A blue plaque commemorating the co-operative will be unveiled by the Mayor of Hebden Royd, Cllr Carole Stow, on the wall of the mill where it operated, Nutclough Mill in Keighley Road.

Related: How Hebden Bridge helped pioneer the workers co-op

A second blue plaque will be unveiled across the road to remember the co-op’s inspirational leader Joseph Greenwood, at the house where he lived for many years while working at the Nutclough as the manager. The plaque will be unveiled by his great great-grandson Alan Greenwood, who has contributed to the cost of the plaques.

Nutclough Mill today

All are welcome to participate, and to gather on 6 July at 11am outside Hebden Bridge Visitor Centre for the short walk to the Nutclough Mill. Flowers will be laid at the graves of Joseph Greenwood and Jesse Gray, another Hebden Bridge co-operator who achieved national renown, in Sandy Gate burial ground. The morning’s activities will be rounded off for those who wish with drinks in the town’s co-operative pub, the Fox and Goose.

The event is organised by local Calderdale co-operatives, and the plaques have been produced jointly through the efforts of Hebden Bridge Local History Society and Calder Civic Trust.