Christ Church Sowerby Bridge

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Heritage Open Day 2022

Industry and Invention in Sowerby Bridge

See how pioneers William Greenup & James Walton revolutionized the process of cloth manufacture from “Fleece to Piece” on one site. Discover who really sold the first chewy toffee, & learn why steam engines built here powered the British Empire. 

Many remarkable inventors and engineers came from our town. Our exhibition will tell their stories through patents, photographs and their memorials within the church, as many buildings are now repurposed. The history talk on 10th September (Yorkshire Churches Day) will focus on the role Christ Church has played in the last 200 years. Our churchyard is open daily throughout the festival. Take time to sit for a moment, visit the Pollit & Wigzell memorial, or read the inscriptions on the tabletop gravestones if you are interested in social history. A self -guided walk around the graveyard and Conservation area will also be available on our website throughout the week.  

1793 William Greenup's mill fully mechanized the process of turning fleece into cloth.  
1840 James Walton born in Sowerby Bridge produced the largest 'self-acting engine for cutting the teeth of gearwheels” in the UK. His two surviving sons William and Frederick went on to invent “linoleum” flooring with commissions for the White House and the ill-fated Titanic
1888 CW Mattocks Toffee were selling their soft toffee two years before the better known firm of James Mackintosh opened his first shop. 
1892 The family firm ”Banks Foundry” founded in 1786 incorporated into “Pollit & Wigzell” ltd. By 1906 the foundry & engineering works occupied an area of 5 acres, employed over 500 people & exported steam engines throughout the British Empire. 
2010 "Totally Locally" movement began.

Event Times

Saturday 10 September: 1000-1500, History Talk at 1300 all welcome with no need to book.
Saturday 17 September: 10.00 until 15:00: exhibition only

Additional Information

The history talk on 10th will last for approx 1 hour. Allow 45mins to explore the church inc. 30 minutes for this year's exhibition and activities. This church is participating in Yorkshire Churches Day on 10th September. Whilst in Sowerby Bridge ( the home of Totally Locally) , please visit our local businesses. You can also take a walk around the sites of some of these inventions within the Conservation Area, by downloading our self guided walk from the church website.  Contact for the day: Churchwarden Peter Henry 07720745230 

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