Echoes of the past: Change at Cooper Bridge junction

The photograph shows the junction at Cooper Bridge before the roundabout was built
The photograph shows the junction at Cooper Bridge before the roundabout was built

Some readers may not immediately recognised this scene, certainly not as it is today. You could never have a man standing in the middle of the road with a child. With not a car in sight it is difficult to appreciate that today, this is the busy multi- road junction at Cooper Bridge.

With no roundabout, no traffic lights and the familiar Dumb Steeple standing on an island in the middle of the junction. Things have changed beyond almost all recognition.

Today the Dumb Steeple is situated by the side of the junction at Cooper Bridge, where the A62 between Huddersfield and Liversedge bisect the A644 between Brighouse and Mirfield. I understand with the continuing rise in motor vehicles using this junction, it was decided by the authorities to move the Dumb Steeple in the 1980s.

The next time you pass through this junction try and imagine whilst stationary, in what seems to be a almost never ending traffic queue. That on the night of April 11th 1812 the Dumb Steeple was used as a meeting place by a large contingent of Luddites.

This group estimated at 150 men was massing to march onto Cartwright’s mill at Rawfolds, on the outskirts of Cleckheaton. Their intentions were to smash the newly installed cropping machines. The Luddites believed that these new machines were a serious threat to their employment, particularly at that time when life was difficult enough. With many of the men’s faces blackened and carrying weapons such as hammers and or even muskets, there is no doubt they were a determined lot.