Discover the real story behind the Yorkshire Coiners at Bankfield Museum

Display of books relating to the Cragg Vale Coiners at Bankfield Museum

Bankfield Museum in Halifax is hosting a special event with a direct descendant of ‘King’ David Hartley, the leader of the Cragg Vale Coiners, as the story of the gang features in the new BBC drama, The Gallows Pole.

On Saturday 17 June, Steve Hartley, great, great, great, great, great grandson of ‘King’ David Hartley, will be visiting Bankfield Museum to promote the true history of the Cragg Vale Coiners. Steve will be signing copies of his new book and answering questions about the coiners.

Steve’s book is titled The Yorkshire Coiners and will be available to purchase at Bankfield Museum as part of the event.

The Yorkshire Coiners presents the facts about the coiners, whose story is the subject of the BBC drama series, The Gallows Pole, directed by Shane Meadows and filmed around the Heptonstall area of Calderdale. The Gallows Pole is a fictionalisation, based on a book of the same name by Benjamin Myers.

The Coiners were a notorious gang of 18th century counterfeiters. Their crimes were debated in parliament, such was the threat to the nation’s finances. High-ranking officials were dispatched from London in an attempt to track down the Coiners and a bitter hunt ensued.

Bankfield Museum has a range of original objects relating to the Cragg Vale Coiners on display, including dies used to stamp the counterfeit coins before they were passed back into circulation. In support of the book signing event and upcoming premiere, Bankfield Museum is featuring a temporary display highlighting the true story of the coiners.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Services and Communities, Cllr Jenny Lynn, said:

“As the latest major production to be filmed in Calderdale, The Gallows Pole, airs on BBC Two, we’re delighted to be able to host this event at Bankfield Museum, which will allow people to find out more about the real Cragg Vale Coiners.

“The museum will welcome Steven Hartley, a direct descendant of gang’s leader ‘King’ David Hartley, who will share his research into his family and the infamous Coiners. Visitors will also be able to see the many objects relating to the Coiners which feature as part of Calderdale Museums collection.”

The book signing event with Steve Hartley is free admission and runs from 1-3pm on Saturday 17 June. No advance booking is required.

Bankfield Museum is free to enter and open Tuesdays to Saturdays and Bank Holidays from 10am to 4pm. Donations to support the collections and exhibitions are always welcome.  For more information about Bankfield Museum and other Calderdale Museums, including the latest events and booking information, visit

Calderdale’s culture and heritage is a key part of its distinctiveness, and in 2024 for our 50th anniversary the borough will host its own Year of Culture. In the build up to this major events programme, the CultureDale brand continues the development of the borough’s growing profile as a vibrant cultural destination. Find out more at link) or @CultureDale2024 on social media. You can also use #CultureDale on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to help promote culture in Calderdale.

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