Business spans from Penny Farthings to Tour De France

One of Hebden Bridge’s longest established businesses is celebrating after notching up one and a quarter centuries of service to the town.

Sunday, 7th September 2014, 7:00 pm
The Cresswells Chartered Accountants team outside the Market Street, Hebden Bridge, offices
The Cresswells Chartered Accountants team outside the Market Street, Hebden Bridge, offices

Cresswells have been trading from premises on Market Street in Hebden Bridge since the 1880s, becoming an incorporated business in the summer of 1889 when Penny Farthings were still in use.

After chalking up over 32,000 days of trading, Cresswells has witnessed many events in the town’s history.

Extensive development to Hebden Bridge town centre took place during the 1880s and 1890s, much of which remains today. During World War Two, Hebden Bridge became a designated “reception area”, taking in evacuees from industrial cities.

During the 1960s the town textile industry suffered a dramatic decline. This was followed in the 1970s and 1980s by an influx of artists, writers, musicians, alternative practitioners and green activists.

A boom in tourism followed and on 6 July 2003, Hebden Bridge was granted Fairtrade Zone status.

Like many businesses, Cresswells was a victim of the devastating floods of 2012 but, after the clear up, the practice has continued to thrive, going on to witness the passing of Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France through the town on July 6 earlier this year.

Cresswells was founded in the 1880s by Richard Crabtree under the original name of R Crabtree & Sons. In 1892 the London Gazette gave the business address for Richard Crabtree, Accountant, as No 17 Market Street. At that time Mr Crabtree lived at Riverdale on Birchcliffe Road with his son Cressweller, who, aged 21, also worked there as an accountant.

Cressweller Crabtree retired in 1931 and the practice transferred to Bertram Turner Crabtree (brother to Cressweller) and Clement Stansfield, who continued to trade under the name of Richard Crabtree and Sons at 12 Market Street and 31 The Strand, Todmorden.

By 1951 the business was trading as Cresswell, Crabtree and Sons, initially run by local accountants Messrs Rhodes, Smith and Hamer and transferring in the 1970s to accountants Norman Stansfield, Jeffrey Lee and Barry Firth.

Today, Cresswells is the only Chartered Accountants in Hebden Bridge. Their offices in Market Street house a team of twenty-two staff, with specialisms ranging from tax and business planning to audit and book-keeping.

Partner Graham Roper said: “Cresswells has been serving the people and businesses of Hebden Bridge since penny farthings were still in use. During that time the business has witnessed many changes in the town and faced many challenges, not least the floods of 2000 and 2012, when our ground floor offices were submerged.“ Today, while our clients come from all over the UK, Cresswells continues to serve many local businesses who remain as important to our success as they were over a century ago,” he added.

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