Todmorden is essentially a border town. The River Calder was the historic border between Yorkshire and Lancashire until 1888, since when the town has been in the West Riding and latterly West Yorkshire.
It’s not a big place, and its centre is dominated by the grandiose Town Hall financed by the three cotton-spinning Fielden brothers, Samuel, Joshua and John, and designed by their favourite architect John Gibson as a magnificent Roman temple on the lines of Birmingham Town Hall and St George’s Hall, Bradford. It cost of £54,000.
The pediment of the south façade contains two carved female figures, the left-hand, western one symbolising cotton-spinning Lancashire, while the other represents the agriculture and engineering of Yorkshire.
The Town Hall actually straddles the River Calder which runs in a culvert underneath. Before the boundary-change of 1888 it was possible to dance in the main hall from one county to the other and back again.
The 80-page, A4 handbook for the 2012 Yorkshire Mills & Mill Towns tour, with text, photographs and a reading list, is available for purchase, price £10.00 including postage and packing. To view sample pages click here. Please send a cheque, payable to Mike Higginbottom, to 63 Vivian Road, Sheffield, S5 6WJ.