Sowerby Bridge skyline
Sowerby Bridge shown within West Yorkshire
|OS grid reference|
|Metropolitan county||West Yorkshire|
|Region||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||SOWERBY BRIDGE|
|EU Parliament||Yorkshire and the Humber|
Originally a fording point over the once much-wider River Calder the town takes its name from the historic bridge which spans the river in the town centre. Before the industrial revolution the area was divided between the parishes of Sowerby, Norland, Skircoat and Warley. The boundaries between them being the Rivers Calder and Ryburn, and Warley Clough, which is now largely culverted. Textiles and engineering industry grew up around the bridge. By the mid-19th century the population had grown and the settlement became an urban district in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1894.
From 1892 to 1930 Pollit & Wigzell manufactured of stationary steam engines for the cotton and woollen mills of Yorkshire, Lancashire and India. Wood Brothers, an engineering and millwright company, also produced engines from its Valley Iron Works. The Markfield Beam Engine is an example for its work.
Council buildings on Hollins Mill Lane, the old swimming pool, council offices and fire station will be transferred to the community group, Sowerby Bridge Fire and Water, and will be renovated for community use.
Sowerby Bridge is situated about three miles from Halifax town centre. It is at the confluence of the River Calder and River Ryburn, and the name Sowerby Bridge references its situation as a crossing point over the River Calder to the older settlement at Sowerby.
The town had a population of 9,948 at the 2001 Census.
There are two high schools in Sowerby Bridge.
The town is at the junction of the Calder and Hebble Navigation and the Rochdale Canal; Tuel Lane Lock on the Rochdale Canal is the deepest lock in the United Kingdom. The canal basin and warehouses where the canals meet, Sowerby Bridge Wharf, are listed buildings and house The Moorings Bar and Restaurant, 12-04 Restaurant, and Temujin Mongolian Restaurant. The basin is the headquarters of The 12th Halifax Sea Scouts (M.O.D. No. 54 Royal Navy Recognised) where HRH Prince of Wales opened the William Andrew Memorial Headquarters. Shire Cruisers run holiday hire canal barges, build narrow boats and provide mooring facilities.
In popular culture
- Walter Lees (1875–1924), professional cricketer for England
- Joe Riley (1876-1954), professional rugby league player for England
- John Tillotson (1630–1694), Archbishop of Canterbury
Rushbearing, the annual ceremony of (now nominally) taking rushes to churches for covering the floors throughout winter, still takes place here over the first weekend of September.
- Sowerby Bridge Chronicle newspaper website
- artSBridge website - Sowerby Bridge Creative Group & Festival
- Fire & Water Facebook page - Current Community Build Project
- Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing Festival
- Totally Locally - More Than a Shop Local Campaign