chapter  1
14 Pages

Early Life

The greatest man who was born in Salterhebble. Halifax councillor T.W. Hanson, in a speech at Salterhebble, March 1934.

Halifax Courier and Guardian, 24 March 1934, 11.

Landscape and Family

The story begins in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in the parish of Halifax. The parish consisted of 26 ‘townships’ or hamlets, spread over 100 square miles (259 km2), an area slightly larger than that of the county of Rutland, with which it was often compared in size. On the Pennine flanks the upland rose to 1,500 feet (457 m) and over most of the region the slopes and thin soils precluded farming as a full-time occupation. Black oats, and more recently wheat, were the only crops, although a few domestic animals were pastured on level ground which was seasonally flushed by the many springs. The value of the land lay in the coal seams underlying parts of the parish, the good building stone to hand, and in the power taken from the many streams fed by the high rainfall.