Hebden Bridge portrayed as
a centre for renewable energy

Saturday, March 11, 2006
Open Country, Radio 4, repeated Thursday, 16th March 1.30pm

Listen Again
Extension: Listen to interview with Chris Ratcliffe

Today's Open Country programme on BBC Radio 4 used the role of water to show a town which has in the past, and will be in the future, the inspiration for those who see renewable energy as important to our future. With the current concerns about Climate Change, listeners to this programme will become very aware of how much Hebden Bridge may have to offer the rest of the country in this respect.

The programme starts at Gibson Mill with Guy Laurie, the property Manager and Mark Draper, the warden, showing interviewer Richard Uridge all the features of the recently renovated Gibson Mill into a "green, sustainable mill": eg, solar panels, power generating water turbines, slow burning wood-burning stove. Although the Mill Pond is frozen, it is still able to power Gibson Mill's water turbines.

Ann Kilby of the Hebden Bridge History Association describes the history of this area; in particular, how production moved from the weavers' cottages to the first textiles mills, powered by the water rolling down the many streams and rivers of our hills.

Above: Producer Gaby Fisher checks the sound while interviewer Richard Uridge talks with Ann Kilbey of the HB History Society.

Polly Weber of the Alternative Technology Centre talks about the origins of the Centre, pointing out that many of the hippies who moved her in the 70s and 80s had been advocating eating wholefoods and use renewable energy for years. Finally, the world was catching up with them. "We like to say that the Industrial Revolution started in this valley," Polly says, because of the availability of renewable energy: water power.

Gail Hirsch and Justine Wyatt from the ATC describe how they are involved in a project looking at the history of water powered mills in the Upper Calder Valley, and are looking especially at one particular clough where there were 11 water power mills all using the same stretch of water.

BBC Open Country: Hebden Bridge
Listen Again
Hebweb Feature: Gibson Mill
Alternative Technology Centre
Hebden Bridge History group

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