Pennine Valley is a comprehensive and panoramic history of the upper Calder Valley from Halifax to the Pennine watershed, encompassing Todmorden, Heptonstall, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Sowerby Bridge. Covering from earliest times to the present day, the book surveys the Middle Ages, the beginnings of industrial growth, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, community life through the ages, the changing industrial scene, and twentieth century transformation.

The dramatic landscape of upper Calderdale has shaped its history. Farming was difficult, and from the fifteenth century a flourishing ‘dual economy’ developed, combining farming with the manufacture of woollen cloth. This in turn produced a prosperous class of ‘yeoman clothiers’, and the houses which they built are one of the treasures of the valley. The proud and independent spirit fostered by a hard life amid the ‘barren and unfruitful hills’ shows up in the nineteenth century social movements and the flourishing culture of ‘Co-op and chapel’. During the Industrial Revolution, both industry and population drained down the hillsides into the expanding towns of the valley bottom, soon dotted with mill chimneys and served by road, canal and rail. Recent history has seen the rapid decline of traditional industries, partly balanced by the rise of tourism and leisure industries.

Pennine Valley is the product of many years research carried out by a group of dedicated local historians in upper Calderdale, under the guidance of Professor Bernard Jennings, who has been exploring and writing about the history of the Yorkshire Pennines for several decades. The book is copiously illustrated, with a hundred striking drawings and photographs, some in colour, and a series of specially-drawn maps.

Pennine Valley is written primarily for people interested in the upper Calder Valley in particular and the Pennines in general, but it also makes an important contribution to the history of the North of England. Pennine Valley gives a comprehensive account of the rich and varied history of the people, places and events in the valley at the heart of the Pennines, and is an absorbing, readable and definitive history.