A key historic building was serenaded with a chorus of “Happy Birthday” by hundreds of people last weekend as crowds came out in style to mark its 700th anniversary.
One of Britain’s oldest surviving water mills, Hebden Bridge Mill, Bridge Gate, was the centre of the town’s celebrations, as people danced and sang to music from Hebden Bridge Junior Band and later the jazzy Peace Artistes.
The icing on the party came in the shape of a mill-themed doppelgänger cake created by Alison Ackroyd, that was cut up into 700 pieces and handed out to those joining in the festivities.
The eco-aware mill, originally built in 1314, was saved from collapse and demolition in 1972 by owner David Fletcher, who said: “I put my life into restoring that building and it is just great that so many people came to celebrate with me on the weekend.
“Everyone sang Happy Birthday to the mill and I think we must be the only place in England where people have sang the song to a building.”
The mill houses 12 businesses and employs around 46 people in the town.
Eco measures that power the mill include LED bulbs that reduce the power demand by 90 per cent, a £140,000 Archimedes Screw providing eco electric energy and solar panels installed on the roof.
The water wheel was restored at the Millennium - its power soon to be fully re harnessed - and operating in the 21st century on the same power source as the 13th!