Friday, 10 July 2015

Hapton heritage

We've planned a day with friends tomorrow, so this morning we went up the canal for water, found a place to wind, and have come back to Hapton. Of this place Nicholson's guide says "A small and unmistakably northern village, with regular streets of terraced houses."

The terraces are faced with a beautifully warm-coloured stone.

The backs of the houses are nowhere near as attractive, but it's generally a fine prospect over the lower half of the village towards the hills to the north.

The village is bisected by what I take (but with no certainty) to be a cutting, holding both the railway and the M65. A couple of bridges span the resultant valley, and the character of the upper part is very different.

The houses are 20th century, brick or pebble-dash, and there are a few small estates of newer build.

It is in this part of the village that you find the parish church, built in the 1920s.

A note on the Hapton Heritage website indicates that the graveyard was consecrated in 1948, but I found a number of gravestones pertaining to deaths earlier than this. Since a number of them had multiple commemorations, it may be that they were only set up later, and that the graves of those who died earlier are actually elsewhere, or were moved.

One of them was Albert Pickup. The Co-op in Clayton-le-Moors is in Pickup Street, which struck me as strange at the time, but is now revealed as (probably) a local family name.

Also in this part of the village is a well-maintained recreation ground and, among the houses, this sign.

I followed it and found, indeed, a picnic site looking across the railway, motorway and canal to the hills beyond.

But it was back in the lower, older part of the village that I found the Methodist church, re-located at a date I did not discover from an older site. I couldn't make up my mind whether this marked a real, or merely imaginery, social division between the two halves, and whether it still persists.

And so back to Erin Mae where, for the first time, I think, I completely removed the panels from the back and one side so we could enjoy some shade on this very hot afternoon.

What is it that leads Nicholson's to describe Hapton as "unmistakably northern"? Other places have streets of terraced houses. I think that tomorrow I'll ask our northern friends to comment.


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