500 Words pieces

Two Petrol Pumps
David H Bridges

Little-shopped and unhorrored
Angie Cairns

Seedy river had fun
Lynn Breeze

Hebden Bridge Snapshot
Fenella Berry

The Bridge Parties
Brian Wells

Changing the world
Chris Reason

The Bridge Lanes community of yesterday
Leah Coneron

Ruth Robson-King

Hebden Bridge My Tūrangawaewae
Jo Collinge

Communing with angels in the heart of the UK
June Smith

500 years this bridge has stood
Emma Timewell

Jake takes Billy for a walk
- Jason Elliott

Where there's brown rice, there's brass
- Daily Telegraph

4th funkiest town in the world
- highlife

500 Words pieces

Hebden: a Bridge between Worlds
Sarah L. Long

My spiritual home
Gill Smith

Star Reborn
Adrian Lord

Take it to the Bridge
Mike Barrett

"I want two queues!"
David Binns

The Long Haul
Rachel Pickering

The Bridge
Alastair Graham

Walking with History
Graham Ramsden

A pin in the map
Andi Butterworth

Extracts from a Tudor time travellerís letter
Frances Platt

Her Diverse Fun Day
Lynn Breeze

William Darney (maverick preacher)
Glyn Hughes

Breakfasting on the Bridge
Graham Barker

Hermetic Hebden

Take it to the Bridge
- Leeds Guide









The Bridge

I am the bridge.  Can you hear the horses’ hooves from centuries ago clip-clopping over my arched stones?  Listen carefully and you might catch the lovers’ whispers as they linger in my parapets before being gently blown on the night air over the stream that flows beneath me.  Or maybe you can hear the sound of the men in clogs as they click-clack over my back on their way back from the White Swan or the Hole in’t Wall to be scolded by long-suffering wives in their terraced domains. 

I am the bridge.  Put your ears close to me now and slide back through the half millennium to which I have borne silent witness.  Can you smell the acrid smoke as it drifts up the mill-scarred river and wraps its choking embrace around me?  Or further back still, breathe in the deep fresh air of rural grazings through which the pack horses sniff their way to find me.  I am the only place they can cross the river to take their woollen loads to far flung markets.   I have breached the watery barrier that hitherto  kept different folk in their separate places, closed them off to opportunity and commerce, which now flourish over my enjoining form. 

I am the bridge.  See, the steam rises from the horses’ snorting and whinnying, and rises from their backs and their shanks as they labour to carry up, over and down me.  See the workmen pause to take in the view upstream, see the chattering, chapel-bound ladies in all their finery.  What tales I could tell, tales of deals done, promises made, rumours started, here on my stones.  Here have children played, old men complained, young women joked and sweethearts kissed. But I won’t tell the tales, you will have to guess what happened here, for I betray no confidences.  Can you see in the reflection of ripples beneath me the faces of some who have crossed me, their features indistinct and shifting?  Can you hear in my crannies the echo of children’s laughter and mill-wheels turning, or is just the sound of the river running underneath me?  Can you pick up the hints and tell the tales that I won’t tell?  

I am the bridge.  Come here and stand on me and listen to my history. I am the reason that your town is here: inns, shops, businesses and then mills all grew from me at the epicentre.  I am the pebble dropped in the pond of ever increasing circles as Hebden Bridge has grown.  I was here when war was declared, when peace returned, and when war broke out again.  I have seen the river flowing so high it tickled my underside, and in times of drought I have seen it reduced to a winding trickle.   I have seen revolutions – industrial, social and economic – but I have not turned.  I have stayed constant in a changing world, providing that link from one side to the other.

I am the bridge.

Alastair Graham