General Notes on Brighouse

Brighouse is now the second largest town in Calderdale, lying to the east of Halifax.

The Snake Hill ford across the Calder was a part of the Roman road from Manchester to Wakefield. The river crossing is the original reason for a settlement here, and the town was originally a hamlet to Rastrick. The name Brighouse – or bridge house – comes from a house which stood by Rastrick Bridge.

Brighouse north of the river was part of Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse and the Manor of Wakefield. South of the river was part of Rastrick township, also the Manor of Wakefield.

Historically, the name has several forms: Brighuses [1240], Broghouse [1397], and Bridghouse [1796].

Pronunciation: Brigg-house with the stress on the first syllable.

Roger de Brighouse is mentioned in 1314. A gateway near the bottom of Bonegate is dated HB 1635 for Henry Brighouse.

The Calder & Hebble Navigation came to Brighouse in 1760, and the canal basin was opened in 1768. The industrial revolution and growth in the cotton, silk, quarrying, wire-making, woollen and worsted industries led to the growth of the town.

Brighouse was originally a part of the Hipperholme-cum-Brighouse township. The Parish of Brighouse was created in 1843. In 1846, Brighouse separated from Hipperholme.

In 1850, Brighouse had a population of 6,000. There were 13 cotton mills, a carpet factory, 3 woollen and worsted mills, and many other factories, foundries and soap manufacturers.

The Borough of Brighouse with Rastrick and Hove Edge was created – by an amalgamation of the local boards of Brighouse and Rastrick, and Hove Edge – in 1893 with Alderman William Smith as the first Mayor.

Spenborough Urban District was formed in 1915 and combined the three districts of Cleckheaton, Gomersal and Liversedge. In 1937, it was enlarged to take in Birkenshaw, Hunsworth, Hartshead and part of Clifton, and Brighouse and Spenborough became a parliamentary constituency with 1 member in the same year.

In 1937, the boundaries were extended to include Lightcliffe and Hipperholme.

The town was absorbed into Calderdale in 1974

See Population, Calder Registration District and Parish statistics

© Malcolm Bull 2023
Revised 16:49 / 2nd November 2023 / 25615

Page Ref: KK_211

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