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Brighouse Town Hall 002a.jpg
Calderdale UK location map.svg
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West Yorkshire UK location map.svg
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Location within West Yorkshire
Population32,360 (2001) [1] (Brighouse/Rastrick urban area)
OS grid reference SE135235
  London 150 mi (240 km)  SSE
Metropolitan borough
Metropolitan county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district HD6
Dialling code 01484
Police West Yorkshire
Fire West Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
UK Parliament
List of places
53°42′25″N1°47′38″W / 53.707°N 1.794°W / 53.707; -1.794

Brighouse is a town within the metropolitan borough of Calderdale, in West Yorkshire, England. Historically within the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is situated on the River Calder, [2] 4 miles (6.4 km) east of Halifax. It is served by Junction 25 of the M62 motorway and Brighouse railway station on the Caldervale Line and Huddersfield Line. In the town centre is a mooring basin on the Calder and Hebble Navigation. The United Kingdom Census 2001 gave the Brighouse / Rastrick subdivision of the West Yorkshire Urban Area a population of 32,360. [3] The Brighouse ward of Calderdale Council gave a population of 11,195 at the 2011 Census. [4] Brighouse has a HD6 postcode.


The name Brighouse (or "Bridge House") originates from a building on (or close to) the bridge over the River Calder. In its early history, it was a hamlet of the nearby village of Rastrick.

Brighouse is twinned with Lüdenscheid in Germany, the link beginning with an exchange by Brighouse Children's Theatre in 1950 followed by a civic twinning charter in 1960. [5]


Rastrick Bridge Brighouse bridge 019.jpg
Rastrick Bridge

There was a river crossing called Snake Hill Ford across the Calder – believed to have formed part of the Roman route between Wakefield and Manchester. A wooden structure called Rastrick Bridge was recorded in 1275. The bridge was replaced by another built with timber donated by John Hanson in 1514. Hanson's son funded a stone replacement for this bridge in 1558. The river provided power for the flour milling industry and the textile mills. Brighouse's industry received a boost through the construction of the Calder and Hebble Navigation, started in 1757 by the engineer John Smeaton. The town was incorporated in 1893. [2]

The Halifax and Huddersfield Turnpike Act of 1823 allowed for the building of Calder Bridge, or Brighouse Bridge, over the river on what was to become the A641 road; tolls were abolished on the bridge in 1875 and extensive widening work was undertaken in 1905 and 1999 (both of these latter dates being commemorated in dedication stones on the bridge).


Brighouse, viewed from Thornhills Lane, Clifton Brighouse & Rastrick, viewed from Thornhills Lane,UK,(RLH).JPG
Brighouse, viewed from Thornhills Lane, Clifton

Brighouse was historically part of the township of Hipperholme with Brighouse in the large ancient parish of Halifax. [6] The township became a civil parish in 1866, but was abolished in 1894 and divided: Brighouse became a municipal borough (and civil parish), Hipperholme became an urban district and Norwood Green and Coley became a civil parish in Halifax Rural District. The Municipal Borough of Brighouse was expanded in 1915 when Rastrick was absorbed, and in 1937 when Clifton CP, Hipperholme UD, Norwood Green and Coley CP and part of Southowram UD were added. Brighouse borough and civil parish were abolished in 1974 when it became part of Calderdale Metropolitan Borough. [7] The mayor's mace was removed in 1974 to the Town Hall, Halifax, where it is displayed in the mayor's parlour to denote the authority of the Halifax mayor. [8]

Brighouse Town Board

Calderdale Council established Town Boards to assist with regenerating Calderdale's Town Centres. The boards are made up of local councillors and community representatives. The first Brighouse Town Board meeting (28 March 2017) appointed Councillors from Brighouse, Hipperholme & Lightclifee, Rastrick Wards, and community members, who represent local business and residents. Brighouse Town Board works with public, private and voluntary organisations, and takes a strategic view of the needs and opportunities of the local area. [9]


The town's mills have undergone an extensive programme of renovation and become loft-style apartments.

Brighouse Library is a large building and in addition to its normal lending library services provides facilities for language courses, internet access and fax facilities. Like most public buildings wheelchair access is provided. There is also a small cafe and a lift for access to all floors. [10]

The main shopping streets are Commercial Street and Bethel Street. Shops include Wilko, Boyes, Czerwik (a specialist cheese and wine shop), Lords Photography, Harrison Lord Gallery & Studio, Domino's Pizza, Just Books, Design 55, Superdrug, Boots, Hallmarks, Thorntons, M&Co and Jack Fulton. Additionally, there is a Sainsbury's and a Lidl. In early 2000, a financial agreement made between Tesco and Brighouse Sports Club, allowed for a huge new Tesco superstore to be built on the site of the former club, and the old Tesco became Wilkos. The deal also enabled the sports club to build new premises almost a mile away (1.5 km) on land at Russell Way, Bailiff Bridge. [11] [12]

The Old Ship Inn has a painted legend along the front, saying that the exterior timbers were salvaged from an old ship. [13] [14] Originally called The Prince of Wales, the building was rebuilt from timbers reclaimed from HMS Donegal in 1926. [15] The town also has other public houses and restaurants to choose from including the local Wetherspoons, The Richard Oastler. Plus a micropub the Market Tavern among others. Restaurants include Meze and Bellini's for Mediterranean food. Plus the Royal Delhi for curry. [16]

The ROKT building on Mill Royd Street is the UK's tallest outdoor man-made climbing wall, at 36m tall it is taller than the Tower of London, although it is temporarily closed as a result of flooding and financial losses during the COVID 19 Pandemic. [17]


St James Church, Brighouse

St James's Church, which was a chapel of ease for the Parish Church of Saint Martin in Brighouse, opened in 1870, with a congregation of 450. An organ was installed in the same year. Two stained glass windows from the William Morris factory, designed by Edward Burne-Jones were installed in July 1871. [18] Further windows were added at later dates by other designers. In 1900 William Camm [19] the organist paid for the fitting of a window in memory of his mother. A further window to commemorate the curate Rev Alban Bodley Mace (1915), who was killed in action at Salonika during 1916, serving with the Allied Expeditionary Force. [20] The chancel screen was designed by G. H. Woodhouse of Manchester. St James Church was last used on 27 December 1970; and then demolished, with the land used for residential properties. The stained glass windows were removed and taken into the care of the Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley where they can now be viewed. [21] [22]

St Joseph's Church, Brighouse

St Joseph's Catholic Church was built in the early 1900s, on Martin Street. In 1879 a primary school was established, using the church hall from Monday to Friday. [23] It remained in use until 4 September 1961, when a new school was built on Finkel Street. [24] The church is aligned with St Patrick's Catholic Church in Elland. [25]

Central Methodist Church, Brighouse

The Central Methodist Church is situated at the west end of Brighouse backing on to the Ludenschied Link with a side entry at the lower part of Parsonage Lane. The frontage overlooks a small car park. [26]

Arts and media

Smith Art Gallery is in the Brighouse Library and features many paintings from the Victorian era displayed in the main hall, in addition to a changing programme of exhibitions of artwork by local artists.

The "Calderdale Nightingale", Susan Sunderland, was born in Brigstock in 1819 and lived here all her life. She never sought fame but was considered one of the best singers in the country and she sang concerts including those for Queen Victoria. [27]

Brighouse was the original home of the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band, founded in 1881 and associated with neighbouring Rastrick. They originally formed under the name the Brighouse and Rastrick Temperance Brass Band taking their current title in the early 20th century. They are currently based next to Brighouse High School in Hove Edge, just north of Brighouse. In 1977 the band recorded "The Floral Dance" which reached Number 2 in the UK Top 40 and stayed there for 6 weeks. In 1968, the band won the inaugural Brass Band World Championship, and in 1993 became the first Yorkshire team to win the All England Masters Brass Band Championship, a feat repeated in 1998. The band won the National Brass Band Championship Finals in 1946, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1980, 1997, 1998, 2010, 2011 and 2017, and the European Championships in 1981 and 1998. [28] [29]

The town is also home to the Yorkshire Co-op Brass band, formed in 1999 by merger of the Jayess '87 and Jayess Queensbury bands.

The area is home to rock band Embrace, who have had three UK number one albums. The town is mentioned in "It's Grim Up North" by the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (The JAMS).[ citation needed ]

A local drum & bugle corps, Conquest Alliance was formed, in 1985, by the merger of the Northern Skyryders and Brighouse RBL (Legion). The following year, 1986, Conquest Alliance appeared on the Drum Corp United Kingdom (DCUK) field of competition and were declared co-champions of the DCUK. [30] In 1987 the corps was placed 1st, [31] 5th in 1988, [32] 2nd in 1989, [33] and 4th in 1990. [34] The corps disbanded in 1990.


The local newspapers are the Brighouse Echo, the Halifax Courier , the Mirfield Reporter and the Huddersfield Daily Examiner . Calderdale's local radio station is Phoenix Radio.


Brighouse Rangers Rugby league Club, founded in 1878, are based at the Brighouse Sports Club Complex on Russell Way (Off A641 Bradford Road) between Brighouse town centre and Bailiff Bridge. The club competes at amateur level in the Pennine League's premier Division and fields a reserve side in Division Six. There is a junior section for under 18's, down to Under 8's, and a ladies side.

Before the 1895 schism in English rugby, William Nicholl played rugby union for England, and Brighouse Rangers. After the schism, Brighouse Rangers became a founder member of the Northern Rugby Football Union (now Rugby Football League), and the first Northern Rugby Football Union chairman was Mr. H. H. Waller from the club. Brighouse Rangers played from 1895–96 to 1905–06 winning the Yorkshire League in the 1896–97 season. Although finishing last in the 14-club elite league in the 1901–02 season, the club was not relegated as the league expanded to 18 clubs. In the 1902–03 season Brighouse finished 18th and was relegated. After finishing bottom of the 31-club recombined league in the 1905–06 season, the club withdrew from the Northern Union.

As of the 2023–24 season, Brighouse Town F.C. play in the Pitching In Northern Premier League Division One East at level 8 of the National League System (also known as 'The Football Pyramid'). Brighouse has its own Sunday League football competition, which in the 2007–08 season had one division of 10 teams. Junction (Rastrick) were crowned champions on 20 April 2008. There are many Junior football teams in the area too such as Brighouse Juniors, which was started by parents in 1989, who go from Under 6's up to Under 17's.

The town is on the route of the 50 mile Calderdale Way circular walk around the hills and valleys of Calderdale.


The A641 northward links Brighouse with Bradford and southward with Huddersfield. The A644 runs eastward out of Brighouse to Junction 25 of the M62 and Dewsbury. In the opposite direction, the A644 leaves Brighouse to the north-west towards Hipperholme, where it crosses the A58 Leeds-Halifax road, and continues through Queensbury to meet the A629 for Keighley. The A643 and A6025 provide less important local links, although the A643 is an alternative route through to Leeds.

A bypass, originally called Elland Road, then renamed Lüdenscheid Link in the 1980s, after Brighouse's twin town in Germany, was constructed in the 1970s to clear heavy traffic from the narrow streets in the town centre.

Brighouse railway station reopened in 2000 and provides the town with access to the National Rail network. All services are sponsored by Metro and provided by Northern. The current service is part of both the Huddersfield Line and the Calder Valley line, with services on the Huddersfield Line between Leeds and Manchester Victoria and services on the Caldervale Line between Leeds and Wakefield Westgate via Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield. Direct services to London Kings Cross are also available, with four services per day provided by Grand Central.

Bus services operate frequently to Halifax like the 549,548 and Huddersfield like the 549,X63. Plus Bradford by using the 686,X63,and the 688 which runs at the weekend. There is also an hourly service to Leeds, the Arriva run service 254.These are coordinated by West Yorkshire Metro. Services are operated by First Bradford, First Calderdale & Huddersfield, Team Pennine and South Pennine Community Transport. In addition there was a daytime Tesco-sponsored ShopHopper service, operated by TJ Walsh, around the town centre, linking the bus station to the superstore, unfortunately, this service was removed a few years ago. Brighouse bus station has been refurbished with funding from Metro and re-opened in May 2009. The bus station is between Commercial Street and the bypass. The bus station and some bus stops in the Brighouse area are equipped with Real Time Passenger Information Screens.

The Calder and Hebble Navigation links Brighouse with Wakefield (junction with the Aire and Calder Navigation), Mirfield (junction with the Huddersfield Broad Canal) and Sowerby Bridge (junction with the Rochdale Canal).


Most available references indicate that the correct pronunciation of Brighouse is with an audible 'h' /ˈbrɪɡhs/ [35] [36] [37] [38] although there is at least one reference which indicates the 'h' is silent /ˈbrɪɡs/ . [39]

Notable people

Nearby villages and suburbs

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">West Yorkshire</span> County in England

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Calder and Hebble Navigation</span> Inland waterway in West Yorkshire, England

The Calder and Hebble Navigation is a broad inland waterway, with locks and bridgeholes that are suitable for 14-foot-wide (4.3 m) boats, in West Yorkshire, England. Construction to improve the River Calder and the River Hebble began in 1759, and the initial scheme, which included 5.7 miles (9.2 km) of new cuts, was completed in 1770 and has remained navigable since it was opened. Significant improvements were made, including the Salterhebble branch to Halifax, opened in 1828, and ever-longer cuts to bypass river sections. Trade was assisted by the opening of the Rochdale Canal in 1804, which provided a through route from Sowerby Bridge to Manchester. There were plans to abandon the river sections completely in the 1830s, but these were modified as the needs of mill owners and other riparian landowners were recognised.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Elland</span> Town in West Yorkshire, England

Elland is a market town in Calderdale, in the county of West Yorkshire, England. It is situated south of Halifax, by the River Calder and the Calder and Hebble Navigation. Elland was recorded as Elant in the Domesday Book of 1086. It had a population in 2001 of 14,554, with the ward being measured at 11,676 in the 2011 Census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rastrick</span> Village in West Yorkshire, England

Rastrick is a village in the county of West Yorkshire, England, between Halifax, 5 miles (8 km) north-east and Huddersfield, 4 miles (7 km) south.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Copley, West Yorkshire</span> Village in West Yorkshire, England

Copley is a village in the metropolitan borough of Calderdale, in the county of West Yorkshire, England, south of Halifax and east of Sowerby Bridge. It is situated by the River Calder and the Calder and Hebble Navigation canal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sowerby Bridge</span> Market town in West Yorkshire, England

Sowerby Bridge is a market town in the Upper Calder Valley in Calderdale in West Yorkshire, England. The Calderdale Council ward population at the 2011 census was 11,703.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Calderdale</span> Metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England

Calderdale is a metropolitan borough of West Yorkshire, England, which had a population of 211,439. It takes its name from the River Calder, and dale, a word for valley. The name Calderdale usually refers to the borough through which the upper river flows, while the actual landform is known as the Calder Valley. Several small valleys contain tributaries of the River Calder.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Clifton, West Yorkshire</span> Village in West Yorkshire, England

Clifton is a small village, near Brighouse, in the metropolitan borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire, England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hebden Royd</span> Town and Civil Parish in West Yorkshire, England

Hebden Royd is a town and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire, England. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 9,092, rising to 9,558 at the 2011 census. It includes Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Cragg Vale. The parish was an urban district before 1974, created in 1937 by the merger of Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd urban districts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Salterhebble</span>

Salterhebble is an area of Halifax, a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale, in West Yorkshire, England. The town falls within the Skircoat ward of Calderdale Council. Salterhebble is located where the Hebble Brook flows into the River Calder. It is on the main route into Halifax from Huddersfield and Brighouse. Salterhebble is the home of Calderdale Royal Hospital, a school, a fast food restaurant, a funeral parlour and one active pub, The Watermill. Some former pubs in the village included The Punch Bowl, The Falcon and The Stafford Arms.

King Cross, originally the site of an ancient stone cross, is an ecclesiastical parish created in 1845 in the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale, West Yorkshire, England. Part of the Diocese of Wakefield, it is located along the top of a ridge above the town of Halifax. The A58 road into Lancashire divides here, with one fork, the A646, branching off towards Burnley via Hebden Bridge and the other going to Littleborough via Sowerby Bridge. During the English Civil War, when Halifax was a Royalist stronghold, King Cross was a key outpost, with the Parliamentarians holding parts of the Calder Valley.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bailiff Bridge</span> Village in West Yorkshire, England

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lightcliffe</span> Village in West Yorkshire, England

Lightcliffe is a village in the Calderdale district in West Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, it is situated approximately three miles east of Halifax and two miles north west of Brighouse. Lightcliffe was a separate parish in 1846 in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hipperholme</span> Village in West Yorkshire, England

Hipperholme is a village in West Yorkshire, England, located between the towns of Halifax and Brighouse in the Hipperholme and Lightcliffe ward of the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale. The population of this ward at the 2011 Census was 11,308.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Halifax, West Yorkshire</span> Minster and market town in West Yorkshire, England

Halifax is a minster and market town in the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire, England. It is the commercial, cultural and administrative centre of the borough, and the headquarters of Calderdale Council. In the 15th century, the town became an economic hub of the old West Riding of Yorkshire, primarily in woollen manufacture. Halifax is the largest town in the wider Calderdale borough. Halifax was a thriving mill town during the industrial revolution.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Municipal Borough of Brighouse</span>

The Municipal Borough of Brighouse was a local government district in the West Riding of Yorkshire from 1873 to 1974 around the town of Brighouse, covering Clifton, Hipperholme, Hove Edge, Lightcliffe, Rastrick and Southowram.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">River Calder, West Yorkshire</span> River in West Yorkshire, England

The River Calder is a river in West Yorkshire, in Northern England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Swinden Barber</span> English architect (1832–1908)

William Swinden Barber FRIBA, also W. S. Barber or W. Swinden Barber, was an English Gothic Revival and Arts and Crafts architect, specialising in modest but finely furnished Anglican churches, often with crenellated bell-towers. He was based in Brighouse and Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire. At least 15 surviving examples of his work are Grade II listed buildings, including his 1875 design for the Victoria Cross at Akroydon, Halifax. An 1864 portrait by David Wilkie Wynfield depicts him in Romantic garb, holding a flower. He served in the Artists Rifles regiment in the 1860s alongside Wynfield and other contemporary artists.


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