a truly historic village
Our cobbled streets, weavers’ cottages and ancient wells hint at our village’s historic past. Indeed there’s mention of Honley (or Haneleia) in the Domesday Book. So it’s not surprising that there’s a story waiting to be discovered around almost every corner in Honley.
In the 1800s the textile industry was thriving in Honley, with around 20 mills operating in the village. Luddites were also active. Indeed, two Luddites drank in the Coach and Horses on Eastgate (now Balooshai Honley) in 1812, before being arrested and hanged for the murder of Marsden mill owner, William Horsfall.
Later that century Honley became known for more pleasant pastimes. In 1895, John William Mellor bought 55 acres and the mill at Hope Bank (on the Woodhead Road just before Brockholes). There he created Hope Bank Pleasure Grounds, complete with fairground, boating lake and zoo! The Pleasure Grounds, the Alton Towers of their day, attracted thousands of visitors before closing in 1955.
At the beginning of the 20th century, it could be argued that Honley was at the forefront of women’s and children’s rights. Emily Frances Siddon, who became Vice-President for the Council of the national union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, lived in Honley House. She also became only the second woman in the country to be made a Justice of the Peace.
Our village can also lay claim to a rock star history. Peter ‘Biff’ Byford, the frontman of heavy metal band, Saxon, hails from Honley. Saxon have sold more than 13million albums worldwide and are still touring the world today. Other famous faces have also made Honley their home over the years, including ballet star, David Bintley, tractor king, Harry Ferguson, and the poet laureate, Simon Armitage.
Today, many of the mills have disappeared but hidden in and around our village are a surprising number of industrial sites. These are now home to a host of businesses ranging from specialist craftspeople to world-leading engineering organisations.
Over the centuries, Honley has grown into a village that’s alive with character; one that treasures its history while fully embracing 21st century living. Now, with your help, it’s time to make our own history.
Visit Honley Civic Society to discover more about Honley’s rich history.