The floods’ legacy will affect the Calder Valley for months. But recovery includes an interesting co-op – and revives Jill Robinson‘s campaign to recognise Ripponden rather than Rochdale as the birthplace of co-operation
The Olympics may be starting in London this weekend, but here in the Calder Valley the torch relay continues, in support of the appeal set up to assist people following the recent disastrous floods.
Our version will take place from Walsden to Mytholmroyd tomorrow, Saturday 28 July, using the torch belonging to local resident Chris Green of the White Ribbon campaign, who was an official Olympic torch-bearer in Halifax a few weeks ago.
The relay is just one of a host of events taking place to help flood victims in our battered towns. Already there has been a sell-out Cake Relief home-baking stall at Hope Baptist chapel, a flash concert in the Town Hall and a very successful fashion show at Todmorden Cricket Club. Now the new president of the local Rotary club has offered money raised from the annual Vintage Car weekend, to be held in Calder Holmes Park on 4-5 August, to the flood relief fund. Also in prospect is a Flood Light review in St. Michael’s church hall in the village of Mytholmroyd, on 18 August. Amongst a number of official measures promised, flood-affected Calder Valley businesses will be eligible for rate relief for three months or more, while work will be undertaken urgently to tackle issues of drainage, and sandbag distribution points will be created.
However, despite the valiant clear-up and tremendous fund-raising efforts, and insistence that the valley is ‘open for business’, there have been a number of casualties. The charity shops in lower Bridgegate are still closed, and it has been announced that the Railway pub in Hebden and the Dusty Miller in Mytholmroyd will not re-open, although petitions have been organised in an attempt to save both. Mytholmroyd is in fact currently almost a ‘dry’ village, with all three pubs shut; the Shoulder of Mutton is still clearing, and a blackboard outside states that it will not re-open until the end of August. The White Lion has been closed and up for sale for more than a year. Fortunately, the Working Men’s Club is still serving. There’s not a great range of places to eat out either, since the chip shop, and the Chinese and Asian takeaways have been shut since the flood. This outpost of the Northerner has been doing a lot of home cooking.
It may be that the pubs can be saved by following the co-operative ownership model which has recently been successfully used to take over the Fox and Goose in Hebden Bridge. In this, the residents are following in the footsteps of the pioneers who founded the Co-operative movement, in 1839, in the village of Ripponden in the neighbouring Ryburn valley. History books have the first co-op located in Toad Lane, Rochdale in 1844, but the credit should actually go to the good people of Ripponden. Their Co-operative Society was registered on 10th July 1839 and opened its store in Pleasant Row. The December ‘divi’ helped with Christmas expenses, while the summer share-out was helpful when people were about to set off on the annual Wakes holiday. There were also associated welfare, social and educational ventures. The motto came from Isaiah – Help every man his neighbour- which is also an appropriate slogan for the post-flood Calder Valley. It is one of history’s puzzles why Lancashire generally receives the credit for the inception of the Co-operative movement. We in Yorkshire need to put that right.
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Political editor Nick Robinson looks ahead to what plans George Osborne has for reforming the tax system and likens them to the era of former chancellor Nigel Lawson in 1988.
See the original post here: AUDIO: Osborne’s ‘Lawsonian moment’?