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Brighouse is a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale, in West Yorkshire, England. It is situated on the River Calder, 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Halifax in the Pennines. It is served by Junction 25 of the M62 motorway and Brighouse railway station on the Caldervale Line and Huddersfield Line. In the town centre is a mooring basin on the Calder and Hebble Navigation. The United Kingdom Census 2001 gave the Brighouse / Rastrick urban areapopulation as 32,360.


The name Brighouse (or "Bridge House") originates from a building on (or close to) the bridge over the River Calder. In its early history, it was a hamlet of the nearby village of Rastrick. Brighouse has been represented as part of Calder Valley in the House of Commons by theLabour Party Member of Parliament Christine McCafferty since 1997.

Brighouse is twinned with Lüdenscheid in Germany, the link beginning with an exchange by Brighouse Children's Theatre in 1950 followed by a civic twinning charter in 1960.[2]


The local newspapers are the Brighouse Echo which is published every Thursday and the Halifax Evening Courier which is published Monday to Saturday. Calderdale's local radio station, Phoenix Radio 96.7 FM also serves the area.


Brighouse, viewed from Thornhills Lane, Clifton

Brighouse was part of Hipperholme with Brighouse Civil Parish until 1893, when Brighouse Municipal Borough was created. This included Rastrick but not Hipperholme, which became an Urban District. The other parts of Hipperholme with Brighouse, ie Norwood Green and Coley, became a civil parish in Halifax Rural District. The borough was expanded in 1937 when Clifton CP, Hipperholme UD, Norwood Green and Coley CP and part of Southowram UD were added. The Brighouse borough was abolished in 1974 when it became part of the Calderdale Metropolitan Borough.[3] The mayor's mace was removed in 1974 to the Town Hall, Halifax, where it is now displayed in the mayor's parlour to denote the authority of the Halifax mayor.[4]

Rastrick Bridge

There was a river crossing called Snake Hill Ford across the Calder - this is believed to have formed part of the Roman route between Wakefield and Manchester. A wooden structure called Rastrick Bridge was recorded as being present in 1275. The bridge was replaced by one built with timber donated by John Hanson in 1514. Hanson's son funded a stone replacement for this bridge in 1558. The river provided power for the flour milling industry and the textile mills. Brighouse's industry received a boost through theconstruction of the Calder and Hebble Navigation, started in 1757 by the engineer John Smeaton.

The Halifax and Huddersfield Turnpike Act of 1823 allowed for the building of Calder Bridge (now called Brighouse Bridge) over what was to become the A641 road; tolls were abolished on the bridge in 1875 and extensive widening work was undertaken in 1905 and 1999 (both of these latter dates being commemorated in dedication stones on the bridge).


Brighouse is situated in the so called "golden triangle" commuter belt between Halifax, Ripponden and Brighouse (entailing Elland, Stainland, Holywell Green and Greetland). The town's mills are currently undergoing an extensive programme of renovation, becoming loft style apartments. The former Sugden's Mill, a local landmark, may be redeveloped for either retail or residential use.


St James church, which was a Chapel of ease for the Parish Church of Saint Martin in Brighouse, opened in 1870, with a congregation of 450. An organ was installed in the same year. Two stained glass windows from the William Morris factory, designed by Edward Burne-Jones were installed in July 1871.[5] Further windows were added at later dates by other designers. In 1900 William Camm[6] the organist paid for the fitting of a window in memory of his mother. A further window to commemorate the curate Rev Alban Bodley Mace (1915), who was killed in action at Salonika during 1916, serving with the Allied Expeditionary Force.[7] The chancel screen was designed by G. H. Woodhouse of Manchester. St James Church was last used on 27 December, 1970; and then demolished, with the land used for residential properties. The stained glass windows were removed and taken into the care of the Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley where they can now be viewed. St Joseph's Catholic church was built in the early 1900s, on Martin street. In 1879 a Primary school, was established, using the Church hall, from Monday to Friday.[8] It remained in use until 4 September, 1961 when a new school was built, on Finkel Street.[9]


The Old Ship public house

The main shopping streets are Commercial Street and Bethel Street. Shops include Wilkinsons, Czerwik (a specialist cheese and wine shop), Just Books, Design 55, Lords Photography, Superdrug, Boots, Peacocks and Jack Fulton. Additionally there is a Sainsbury's store which opened in the 1990s.

In early 2000, a financial agreement made between Tesco and Brighouse Sports Club, allowed for a huge new Tesco superstore to be built on the site of the former club, and the old Tesco became Wilkinsons. The deal also enabled the sports club to build new premises almost a mile away (1.5 km) on land at Russell Way, Bailiff Bridge.

The Old Ship Inn has a painted legend along the front, saying that the exterior timbers were salvaged from an old ship.[10][11] Originally called The Prince of Wales, the building was rebuilt from timbers reclaimed from HMS Donegal in 1926.[12]

Brighouse library

Brighouse Library

Brighouse library is a large building and in addition to its normal lending library services also provides facilities for language courses; internet access and fax facilities. Like most public buildings wheelchair access is provided. There is also a small cafe and a lift for access to all floors.


Smith art gallery

The Smith art gallery is located within the Brighouse library and features many paintings from the Victorian era displayed in the main hall, in addition to a changing programme of exhibitions of artwork by local artists.


The Brighouse area is home to the britpop band Embrace, who are most notable for their song "World at Your Feet", the official Englandanthem for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The town is also mentioned in the song "It's Grim Up North" by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (The JAMS).

Brass band

Brighouse was the original home of the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band, founded in 1881 and associated with neighbouring Rastrick. They originally formed under the name The Brighouse and Rastrick Temperance Brass Band taking their current title in the early 20th century. They are currently based next to Brighouse High School in Hove Edge, just north of Brighouse.

The band won the National Brass Band Contest in 1946 at the Royal Albert Hall and in 1968 they won the first Brass Band World Championship. In 1977 they recorded "The Floral Dance" which reached Number 2 in the UK Top 40 and stayed there for 6 weeks, inspiring radio DJ Terry Wogan to release his own version some time later. In 1993 they became the first Yorkshire team to win the All England Masters Brass Band Championship, a feat they to were repeat in 1998. The band also won the National Brass Band Championship Finals in 1997 and 1998, and the European Championships in 1998.

The town is also home to the Yorkshire Co-op Brass band, formed in 1999 by merger of the Jayess '87 and Jayess Queensbury bands.

Drum & Bugle Corps

A local drum & bugle corps: Conquest Alliance was formed, in 1985, by the merger of two other drum corps, the Northern Skyryders and Brighouse RBL (Legion). The following year, 1986, Conquest Alliance made their first, re-organised, appearance on the Drum Corp United Kingdom (DCUK) field of competition. At the end of their first season they were declared co-champions of the DCUK, tying with the Dagenham Crusaders, with a score of 82.4 points DCUK Roll of Honour.

The next four competitive years saw the following placings:-

They last competed in 1990, before disbanding. Following their disbandment many former band and staff members went on to teach other competitive drum corps in England, many very successful. They have judged and marched in the USA in Drum Corps International and Drum Corps Associates events - with the Bayonne Bridgemen (New Jersey), of Atlanta (Spirit of JSU) (Georgia), Crossmen (Pennsylvania), York Skyliners, and the Lehigh Valley Chieftains.

A reunion was held on 11 November, 2006. Pictures of the night, message board and forum can be found on their website at


Rugby league

Brighouse Rangers Amateur Rugby League Club are part of the Brighouse Sports Club Complex on Russell Way (Off A641 Bradford Road) between Brighouse town centre and the village of Bailiff Bridge. Brighouse Rangers were founder members of the Rugby Football League when the two codes split in 1895, and the first ever chairman was Mr. H.H. Waller the chairman of Brighouse Rangers. The club competes at amateur level in the Pennine League in the Second Division and field a reserve side in Division Six. There are also junior section for under 18's, down to Under 8's, and a Ladies side.


In the 2008-2009 season the town's football club, Brighouse Town F.C. will be playing in the NCEL First Division at level 10 of the National League System (also known as 'The Football Pyramid'). Brighouse has its own Sunday League football competition, which in the 2007-2008 season had one division of 10 teams. Junction (Rastrick) were crowned champions on (20 April 2008).



The A641 northward links Brighouse with Bradford and southward with Huddersfield. The A644 runs eastward out of Brighouse to Junction 25 of the M62 and Dewsbury. In the opposite direction, the A644 leaves Brighouse to the north-west towards Hipperholme, where it crosses theA58 Leeds-Halifax road, and continues through Queensbury to meet the A629 for Keighley. The A643 and A6025 provide less important local links, although the A643 is an alternative, but tortuous and poorly-signposted, route through to Leeds.

A bypass, originally called Elland Road, then renamed Lüdenscheid Link in the 1980s, after Brighouse's twin town in Germany, was constructed in the 1970s to clear heavy traffic from the narrow streets in the town centre.


Brighouse Railway Station was reopened in 2000 and provides the town with access to the National Rail network. All services are sponsored by Metro and provided by Northern Rail. The current service is part of both the Huddersfield Line and the Caldervale Line, with services on the Huddersfield Line between Leeds and Manchester Victoria and services on the Caldervale Line between Leeds and Wakefield Westgate via Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield. Direct services to London are to begin in 2010 and to be provided by Grand Central.


Bus services operate frequently to Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds and Wakefield. These are coordinated by West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (Metro). Services are operated by First BradfordFirst Calderdale & HuddersfieldArriva Yorkshire, Loonat Coaches and Ryburn Taxibus. In addition, there is a Tesco-sponsored ShopHopper service, operated by the Halifax Joint Committee, during normal shopping hours, around the town centre and linking the bus station to the superstore.

The Brighouse bus station has been refurbished with funding from Metro and was re-opened in May 2009. The bus station is situated between Commercial Street and the by-pass.

Some bus stops within the Brighouse area are equipped with Real Time Passenger Information Screens, as is the new bus station.


The Calder and Hebble Navigation links Brighouse with Wakefield (junction with the Aire and Calder Navigation), Mirfield (junction with theHuddersfield Broad Canal) and Sowerby Bridge (junction with the Rochdale Canal).

Community events

Brighouse Charity Gala

The annual Brighouse Charity Gala is held on the last Saturday of June. The Gala consists of a procession assembling, around 1.15 p.m., at the Crosslee works in Hipperholme, which then follows a circuitous route around the suburbs and town centre of Brighouse to Wellholme Park. Local groups and businesses are represented by designed floats with walking groups and musical bands. The event comes to a closes just after 5.00pm, when hundreds of numbered plastic yellow ducks are emptied into the nearby Clifton Beck this then flows down through the park to a finish line as the public watch their progress. The winning ticket holder receives a cash prize. In 2005 over £12,000 was raised at the Gala and then distributed to local charities

The 41st gala, due to take place on Saturday 30 June 2007 was rescheduled to 15 September, due to serious flooding, on 25 June 2007during the 2007 United Kingdom floods, when the nearby Clifton Beck burst its banks and flowed into Wellholme Park.

Notable people born in Brighouse

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