Carol Holden

Carol Holden

Interviewed on 25.11.2011

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[TRACK 1]

 

TONY WRIGHT:

It’s the 25th of November 2011 and we’re talking to Carol Holden, and she’ll be questioned by Year 5 pupils from Riverside School.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What are your hobbies?

 

CAROL HOLDEN:

My hobbies…..well I like walking and reading and playing the flute. Those are my hobbies.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Where do you live at the moment?

 

CH:

At the moment I live on Windsor Road in Hebden Bridge, and I’ve lived there for thirty years, so….thirty years next year on that road…..I’ve been there a long time.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What school did you go to?

 

CH:

Well I went to school in Manchester, so I was…..I didn’t move here until I was in my early twenties, so I went to St Paul’s…..Church of England school it was, in Manchester; it was actually in Salford, so….and then I went to….do you want the secondary school as well?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Yes please.

 

CH:

Secondary school, I went to grammar school then in Manchester as well, so…….yeah.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

How has Hebden Bridge changed in the time you’ve lived here?

 

CH:

How has it changed? Oh…..well it’s changed loads actually……when I came here as a young…..younger person it was…..it wasn’t like it is now, it was……it was much shabbier; it looked grimmer because there wasn’t all these posh shops here, in fact lots of shops were shut down along Market Street, they were boarded up and there was…..the square was…..well it wasn’t a pedestrian square then, you could drive right through the square and round and across, so it was, you know, it was a bit busy with traffic actually, and it was…..it was much…..it wasn’t as crowded for a start because you didn’t get the tourists like you do; you get lots of people coming to walk don’t you, and to shop at the nice shops we’ve got, the antique shops and things, and so it was much, much less busy and not…..I suppose it wasn’t quite as interesting and there was a lot of…..the houses were…..I think a lot of the houses have been cleaned up now, the stone’s been cleaned, but they all looked black then; they hadn’t really started properly with cleaning the stonework, you know what I mean, because it used to be black from the mills. A lot of people have had them cleaned so it looks a bit brighter now, so it’s busier and brighter now, but it was…..it was nice then, it was quiet; I liked that, much quieter.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What’s your dream job?

 

CH:

My dream job…..oh [laughing] well, I was a teacher here at Riverside for a number of years and I taught all my life, on and off, but my real dream job? Well that would be……one of two things; I’d either like to be a musician or a writer I think……something which you could do……something creative and something which you…..I quite like the idea of doing something solitary, having worked in school because you’re surrounded by…..you know, people all day – teachers and children – people talk to you, so it’s quite….it’s quite a hectic job is teaching, whereas I used to dream about doing something quiet, you know, if you write, you write by yourself don’t you, or if you play music I suppose you could do that…..you could do both; you could play with people and you could actually perform, so…..but those two things are the ones that I fancied.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What is your favourite dog?

 

CH:

My favourite dog?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Type.

 

CH:

Oh I think I like collies or cross-bred collie type dogs, you know, sheepdog types.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Why?

 

CH:

Why? Well I like dogs with long hair and floppy ears, and I like them with bushy tails, and I think the collie ones just look really nice looking dogs, and……probably I think cross-breds better than mongrels because…..because proper collies are really energetic and they’re really working dogs and they need a lot of exercise, because they’re constantly wanting to be taken out because they really should be working shouldn’t they, so the collie itself – my friend’s got a collie and she lives in the countryside in Ireland, and it’s a good place for it because there’s lots of space, but when it’s in the town it’s really quite – you know, it’s always wanting to go out, so I think yeah, something like a collie I like best.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Do you like where you’re living?

 

CH:

Yeah I love it. I don’t know if you know Windsor Road. It’s up towards…..you know where Salem is? Do you know Salem?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Yeah.

 

CH:

And…….Foster Lane……there’s a little park down at the bottom

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Yeah my dad used to live there.

 

CH:

Right. Well if you go up – carry on up the hill then – it’s…..Windsor Road’s up the hill from there, and I really like it. It’s on a hill and when I first bought the house thirty years ago I thought…..I looked at it and thought ‘I don’t know if I want to live up here’ – to walk up and down the hill because it’s quite……three-quarters of the way up the hill, and then, but then everyone lives on hills round here unless you live, you know, right in the middle of town I mean….do you live on hills?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

I live on a really steep hill. Do you know Moss Lane?

 

CH:

Oh yes. You don’t live far away from me then, yeah, that’s steeper than Windsor Road that. I sometimes walk up there, but you’ve got to be feeling very fit haven’t you to go up there? Yeah, and do you live down in the town on the flat?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

I live up Dodnaze.

 

CH:

Oh you have to…..phew, that’s a massively steep hill isn’t it?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Yeah.

 

CH:

Do you walk up it much?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Yeah.

 

CH:

Yeah. Where do you live?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Heptonstall.

 

CH:

Oh, there you go. You probably all live up steeper hills than me. Anyway, I think it’s kept me fit going up and down there all these years, but I like it because it’s near the Crags. Hardcastle Crags is just….you know, you can walk to that from where I am and one of the things I like to do is walk, so it’s perfect; I don’t have to drive anywhere, I can just walk from my house either, you know, down to Salem or on the river, or carry on further and down to the Crags and have a really nice walk, so I love it where I live and I’ve got really nice neighbours there too….plus which, there’s the Delph. I don’t know if you know the Delph opposite; there’s this big green space where they’re not allowed to build, so…..and it’s green space at the back as well, so if you look out the front and back of my house you don’t….you haven’t got houses, you know, it’s not like on a street where you’ve got houses looking in on you; I’ve got a nice open space, so for that reason it’s good.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

There’s…..like…..sort of….some swings and stuff and there’s a place that’s called the Delph and it’s a bit near there.

 

CH:

Yeah that’s right. Where the swings are and the bonfire, yeah. Yeah well that’s been used for a long time as a place just to play, kids to play, light fires and hang washing out; I hang my washing out on there, it’s a really nice community space. Yeah, so I love it where I am, I do, it’s really smashing.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What’s been your favourite holiday?

 

CH:

Oh…….that’s a good one………….probably……I think probably when I went to……I travelled…..I went to Canada and America actually, and we spent six months travelling round, and mostly it was in……we spent three weeks in the States but most of it was in Canada which was on the west coast, and it was…….it was beautiful out there, and the countryside, because I like that, and we spent three months living in a cabin near the sea, so that was probably my best holiday ever because it was fabulous. We met loads of really great people there and it was beautiful as well, you know, there’s the mountains and the ocean, wildlife and I just had a really nice time, and I always wanted to go back but that was a long time ago now; that was in 1977 and so I never got back there, but I’d like to see it again……yeah that was lovely, Canada….of course they’re such massive places; Canada’s huge and so are the States. When you get there you’re kind of thinking ‘where shall I go?’ and at first it’s really hard to choose you know, but we decided instead of staying in the States we’d go up to Canada and so that’s what we did. You need a long time to explore.

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

What is your favourite place in Hebden Bridge?

 

CH:

My favourite place in Hebden Bridge? Oh…….do you mean anywhere, like…….do you mean…..you don’t mean a pub do you? [laughing] My favourite place probably is…..probably…….I like…..can I have two?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Yes.

 

CH:

Well one of them’s Hardcastle Crags because I’m forever walking in there, I love it at all different times of year, seeing it in different seasons, especially when the bluebells are out. It’s nice in the snow as well, so I just really love it, and in the autumn, but I like the Colden valley as well which you probably know. You know……you’re from Heptonstall aren’t you? Well you know where Hell Hole rocks is? Well that valley up there, that’s Colden valley and I really like it up there as well, that’s a beautiful spot, so those two places really are my favourites……..any more?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

I’ve got one.

 

CH:

Have you got one?

 

ONE OF PUPILS:

Yeah. What’s been your most valuable possession?

 

CH:

My most valuable possession?...........that’s quite…….valuable possession…….I thing you mean, you don’t mean a person, like a thing……..oh well I don’t know really. It’s hard that isn’t it?.......I think………..I don’t know…….I might say my flute to be honest, because I’ve had that for donkey’s years and I don’t play it a lot - all the time – I’ve had some nice times playing it in different places with people at parties and that’s been nice, so yeah, I think my flute is the thing…….something that I’ve had for a long time. Otherwise the other thing that’s sprung to mind is my walking boots because they’re the things I go walking in which is the thing that I like loads, but they change you see, I’ve still got the same flute and I’ve still got it there. That’s it my flute……..yeah. Some food for thought there though because it takes some thinking about that doesn’t it? I’ll be thinking about that when we go home. It all sounds like ancient history to you I suppose, having been here thirty years.

 

TONY WRIGHT:

Do you have any more questions?.......Well I’m going to ask one or two, and then if you would like to follow on and ask other questions about that, then you can do. I just……could you tell us…….what your full name is and when you were born?

 

CH:

Yeah, birth date……Carol Mary Holden and I was born in Manchester on the 12th of September 1949.

 

TW:

What brought you to Hebden Bridge originally then?

 

CH:

What brought me to Hebden Bridge originally……I was at college training to be a teacher actually in Manchester, and in the……was it the first or second year……I was invited to a party, I came to a party and somebody at college said ‘do you want to come to a party?’ and I didn’t know him, and I said ‘oh, yeah, where is it?’ thinking it would be somewhere in Manchester, and he said ‘oh it’s in Hebden Bridge’ and I said ‘well I’ve never heard of it’ then he said ‘well I’ll draw you a map then’ he said ‘bring a friend with you’ so I said ‘okay, she’s got a car, we’ll come in that’ so he drew a map and we didn’t know…..we really didn’t know Hebden Bridge or Todmorden for that matter, and so what we did was, I said to my friend ‘let’s have an adventure, shall we go to this party? It’s somewhere……apparently on the tops around Hebden Bridge’ so we followed the map, and it was…..actually funnily enough it was in November so it was quite dark, and there was some snow on the ground and we….we drove and we got lost, we kept getting lost because we couldn’t find it, and we ended up over Pecket Well, heading towards the moors, over the top……and then we turned round and came back – it was all sheep and snow up there – and then we ended up at the party which was in Old Town, that’s where it was you see, that’s why we couldn’t find it because it was up there [laughing], so we went to this party and there was about….there must have been say only about fifteen to twenty people there, and I think it was 1971 or 72 and that was all the people who had kind of come to live in Hebden, a few hippies really, who had come to live in Hebden and they were all at the same party because you could get everyone in there who had just, you know, moved into the area, so we had a party; we stayed for the weekend and went to visit some of these people. They showed us where they lived; a group of them were living in Foster Clough along Midgehole Road and they were all like……ex students I think and they were kind of hoping to turn it into a commune at the time – shared housing – but that didn’t happen, but that was the catalyst of the party, so after that it was like ‘yes, love it’ and came back again, kept coming back and we just decided when we’d finished college we were moving in and we moved into Hebden then, otherwise I’d have still been in Manchester, you know, it was like a real chance meeting completely because I didn’t even know him you know, he was just chatting to someone having a coffee in the coffee bar at college and, you know, it just shows you how your life can change cos I could have just……I could have actually stayed in Manchester all this time but I haven’t, I’ve been out here which is great you know, cos it’s…..and my family visit me and they’re all over in Manchester but they all come and say how beautiful it is, but none of them have moved. I think they like city life better, a bit of, you know, they like a bit razzmatazz, a bit lively, whereas I like the countryside so this has got both hasn’t it? It’s got a nice town and it’s got the countryside, so it’s perfect [laughing] it was good, a good meeting. I still see that same person that invited me; he’s still around………every time I see him I say ‘if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be here’ you know. He moved to Australia for a while actually, it was Mick Piggott, I don’t know if you know Mick and Jean and they went to Australia for a few years and they’re back now, so….it’s funny isn’t it?

 

TW:

One more question really, about….you talked earlier about……being creative. Do you think the Hebden Bridge area is conducive to being a creative sort of person, and why would that be?

 

CH:

Oh definitely, yeah absolutely. I mean, over the years I’ve had opportunities to play music with people in different situations so it’s……it’s been…it’s got all that music, I mean not just music, it’s got people who write in writers’ groups you know, there’s loads of art, people who paint and draw, and theatre, I mean it does seem to attract – and I think it’s….I’m not sure, not quite sure – I can see why it would attract people that need….cos the actual terrain is very dramatic, you know, the surrounding hills, it’s very inspiring to be here I think, because I mean Ted Hughes was very inspired by….it’s the landscape isn’t it, which hasn’t changed; that’s still the same you know, the buildings have changed a bit, but it’s the landscape that was very inspiring so anyone who wants to like, you know, be inspired to live here it’s great. It’s partly that I think, and certainly what drew me here, but…..and certainly for painters and things, but I’m not quite sure about the others…..there’s poets, yeah definitely writers, and there’s loads of them isn’t there? There’s like loads of poets and writers and playwrights and artists and……..yeah, it’s a brilliant place for it. It’s quite unique really.

 

TW:

You said it was very……dark and the buildings were black and it was a bit dirty and that sort of thing when you first moved here, and it’s changed a lot. How do you look at environmental issues then, and is it because of the people that live here that make it happen, or is it….why do you think it’s changed environmentally?

 

CH:

Well there’s……I mean the people that came here originally like me what were a bit, you know, kinda hippiefied people who wanted to do something a bit greener, you know, coming from cities, people from Manchester and Bradford and London, and who grow stuff; some people manage to get themselves nice old farmhouses with land and you know I didn’t do that because I just moved around a lot and rented, but I managed to get… I ended up in a terraced house but a lot of people…..a lot of people had that ethic of wanting to……you know, get back to the land really at the time, and it has attracted that sort of people and of course people like David Fletcher were busy trying, you know, saving all the foundation and doing stuff like that, preserving things, and I think it just kind of gradually snowballed from that and now of course it’s you know, we’re really getting on board. The Transition Town’s…….just preserving the place and yes, in some ways it’s not so good because I liked it when it was quieter [laughing] I feel a bit like…..I mean the locals must have felt like that you know, ‘this is our town’ and people are coming into it – offcumdens – and I feel a bit like that myself, only I’m still, well, you’re always an offcumden aren’t you, you’re always new. I’ll never be, even though I’ve been here forty years and been Hebden Bridger; I feel like a Hebden Bridger – I’ve got split nationality – Mancunian and Hebden Bridge [laughing], but I’ve actually spent two thirds of my life here and one third, you know, in my place of birth, so….you know it’s very…..I can’t see myself going anywhere else.

 

TW:

Okay, well I’d like to say thank you for allowing us to question you, and I’d like to say thank you to the children as well for asking such big questions.

 

CH:

Well done.

 

TW:

And that’s great.

 

CH:

Yeah it’s been interesting and I’ll be going home thinking about some of those questions now, like tonight I’ll be lying in bed thinking about that; food for thought, that’s good. Do you like interviewing people? [laughing] Great. Well you’ve been really good, thank you.

 

[END OF TRACK 1]

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Wild Rose Heritage and Arts is a community group which takes it's name from the area in which we are located - the valley ("den") of the wild rose ("Heb") -  Hebden Bridge which is in Calderdale, West Yorkshire.

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