Recording life in the valley

Volunteers at the Town Hall work to process the many donations of clothes, blankets and toileteries to help the Syrian refugees.

Volunteers at the Town Hall work to process the many donations of clothes, blankets and toileteries to help the Syrian refugees.

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With its rich history, picturesque scenery and stacks of weird and wonderful events, there’s endless opportunity for superb snaps in the upper Calder Valley.

And the After Alice project, based in Hebden Bridge, is determined to document the quirks that make the area so special.

Despite strenuous efforts the ducklings could not be found or saved

Despite strenuous efforts the ducklings could not be found or saved

Based in their new office and community darkroom, part of the Ground Floor Project in Hebden Bridge’s Salem Mill, After Alice is coordinating an ongoing photographic campaign to record the places, people, events, and everyday activities of the Upper Calder Valley on film.

The project, named after Hebden Royd’s most famous photographer Alice Longstaff, is open to anyone interested in photographic images and in using vintage film camera. Every photograph taken – both the original film negative and the resulting digital files – is archived and catalogued to provide a long-lasting future-relevant community resource.

The After Alice Project is making tomorrow’s history today and our new quarterly feature will document how the project is progressing.

Here are some shots from recent months:

Duckling SOS! During the Hebden Bridge Folk Roots festival in June this year several passers by were alarmed to see a family of ducklings vanish down a drain on Bridge Gate.

A rescue attempt was soon organised, people propped open the drain grid, organised a fishing net with a gathering of concerned people hoping for the retrieval of the ducklings.

After Alice contributing photographer Bruce Cutts was on hand to capture the efforts to recover the ducklings as he dashed between Folk acts in Hebden Bridge.

The project also documented the efforts to help refugees - the response to the call out for donations was tremendous and organisers had enough to fill three vans.

The first van load left Hebden Bridge last weekend and so many people in Hebden Bridge turned up with donations to the Town Hall that the organisers had to ask people to sto.

Tonnes of clothes and toiletries, tents, sleeping bags, blankets, shoes and more have been dispatched to help refugees from war torn Syrian.

And in Todmorden, keen snappers were on hand to document the town’s carnival and the Calderdale Hike.

Todmorden Carnival restarted in 1953 and has steadily progressed over the years, attracting a good following locally and in the neighbouring areas. It is a day out for all the family, providing fun, entertainment and an opportunity for local groups to raise funds for charity.

The Calderdale Hike has been run by 24th St Paul’s Scout Group since 1979 when it was the brainchild of Peter White, the Scoutmaster at the time, and the first three events were based on a circuit of the Calderdale Way with HQ being at Brooksbank School in Elland.

After the third hike it was decided to scale down the length of the route as the manning of such a large event was proving to be increasingly difficult.

Peter White devised two routes, one of 36 miles and one of 25 miles, for runners and walkers alike. Using his vast knowledge of the Pennine countryside he was able to devise new interesting routes that would appeal to all.

Here a weary walker is snapped at Lumbutts Church during the popular event.

See www.afteralice.org for more information.