Memories of Calderdale

Todmorden: a Poem


Stephen Dobson

Tod's a town in the heart of the Pennines
Built of stone from the surrounding hills
It used to be blackened by industry
Mainly dozens of old cotton mills

Those creators of Tod's prosperity
Have long gone, leaving air that is clean
And their wealth has passed on to posterity
As visitors and residents have seen

Our town has many fine features
Town Hall, Market, Library, Canal Boats
And the best park in the whole country
With facilities for most major sports

The weather may be better, in Australia,
Or even most other places on God's Earth
But there are more important things to consider
When it comes to judging a town's worth

Todmordians have been called Lowry- people
In drab surroundings, living out their dull lives
Yet much depends on their inherent grey-matter
And that's where their quality resides

The town can claim 2 Nobel Laureates
In Atomic Physics and Chemistry too
They didn't stand round on street corners
Declaring that there was nothing to do

Two Test cricketers, a saxophonist in Supertramp
A scientist who studied rock from the moon
Actors, poets, a TV weatherman
And a bandleader were all bred in our toon

Why does Tod have all this achievement
One can debate this throughout day and night
There may be many different opinions
But the old Grammar School song got it right

It mentioned the grimness and grandeur
Of the hills that surround our small town
For our forebears, very hard was the going
But they always looked up and not down

The hills and the moors that surround us
Have determined our character by stealth
They have made us determined and resourceful
Giving both physical and mental good health

These qualities have served us all well
As a look at our history will show
There's many a fine tale we can tell
As many Todmordians will know

It all started in the Victorian era
When our ancestors thought out of the box
And used our water power to weave cotton
In this marshy den of the fox

Thus began the Industrial Revolution
In which Todmorden helped lead the way
It provided our stout-hearted people
And the community spirit of today

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 10:26 / 30th May 2021 / 3856

Page Ref: M_18

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