Picturing the past in Todmorden

Visitors to Todmorden Town Hall can now see a key feature of the heritage of the building and town, which was previously hidden from view. 

Pictures of every single Mayor of Todmorden since 1896 – that’s 101 in total – have a new home within the Town Hall, to make it easier for people to see 120 years of history.

The pictures were previously behind closed doors in the unused Committee Room C, and have been rehung in the corridor leading to the Council Chamber.

Thanks to funding from Calderdale Council and Todmorden Town Council through the Todmorden Town Hall Working Group, the corridor has new lighting to give the pictures the illumination they deserve, and to highlight the spectacular mosaic floor displaying the town crest of the Yorkshire and Lancashire roses, Stoodley Pike, a spindle and flying shuttle and the town’s motto, ‘By Industry We Prosper’.

The funding has also brought the dated Committee Room C back into use as an office after a refurbishment.

The Mayoral pictures illustrate an incredible history. Alderman Robert Jackson was the longest serving Mayor from 1911 to 1919, throughout the First World War, and Dr Stella Brown was the first female Mayor, during the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, and was a GP in Todmorden.

The transformation is best appreciated on one of the free monthly taster tours of Todmorden Town Hall. The next tour takes place on Sunday 4 September, starting at 2pm on the bridge opposite the pediment at the top of Halifax Road. ‘Tea and Tours’ can also be booked by contacting Daniel Jessop, Volunteer and Events Co-ordinator: / 01706 548105 / 07912 891370.

The tours are part of the ‘Telling the Story’ project, which has been made possible by a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £45,700 and a Council contribution of £3000.

Cllr Susan Press, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, said:

“It’s wonderful to see the historic Mayoral pictures looking their best and showcased for more people to enjoy. The refurbishment is part of the ongoing work to increase the use of Todmorden Town Hall and inspire people to get involved in its heritage. I encourage as many people as possible to take part in a tour – not just to see the recent improvements, but also to celebrate the wealth of history within this magnificent building.”