Blackshaw must have been a very different place fifty years ago in the shadow of a declining textile industry and before the introduction of the Clean Air Act. The renaissance of Hebden Bridge in the 1960’s spread out to neighbouring areas. With the end of the textile industry and the pollution it caused, Blackshaw was slowly transformed from being a static semi-rural hinterland of a smoke-stack industrial area to a much sought after beautiful place to live with a changing population of “offcumdens” many commuting to Manchester or urban West Yorkshire .
Modern Blackshaw Head owes much to the campaign to save the chapel from closure nearly thirty years age. It had suffered declining congregations for many years but its successful revival and gradual renovation over the years has created a base around which a vibrant and lively community has been built. This received a tremendous boost in 2003 with the Vital Villages Initiative in the wake of which many new groups were formed, Shed being one of them.
This brings this brief article on the history of Blackshaw Parish and Blackshaw Head full circle. It has been a tale of pre historic people, Iron Age and Norse settlers, medieval lords and peasants, yeoman clothiers and cottagers, handloom weavers and early millowners, hard working farmers, chapel-goers, brave soldiers, textile workers and offcumdens.
To conclude it can be said that towards the end of the first decade of the twenty first century this cohesive and energetic community is well placed to face the many challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead. Our story, to add to all the others that have gone before and recorded as events unfold, will be written by some future historian who will assess our contribution to this complex tapestry of change.
For History is never ending…only perspectives shift as time passes.