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  • Interviews and Storytelling: Christina Hooley

     

    [TRACK 1]

    TW:

    Okay this is Tony Wright, it’s the eighteenth of April 2011 and I’m talking to Christina at Zion Co-op. Christina, can you tell me your full name and where and when you were born?

    CHRISTINA HOOLEY: Okay, my name is Mrs Christina Margaret Hooley. I was born in Winchester Hospital in Hampshire in November 1959

    TW:

    Winchester.

    CH: yes.

    TW:

    What’s it like around Winchester?

    CH: Winchester is very genteel.....it’s...the countryside is.....flattish to rolling hills I’d say....Winchester’s is the county town, city of Hampshire.....I’d say it was genteel but my family are not genteel, they’re actually just an ordinary working class family from Southampton and my dad moved to the countryside, we were nearer to Winchester there than we were to Southampton, and he and my mum built their own house in three years of Sundays.

    TW:

    Three years of Sundays?

    CH: Yes. [laughing]

    TW:

    That’s quite an accomplishment.

    CH: Yes.

    TW:

    Did you learn skills from your parents then?

    CH: No, strangely I didn’t. I wish I had done really, I wish I had learnt carpentry and building skills from my dad, but I guess we just didn’t have that kind of relationship really.

    TW:

    Right. So did you spend most of your....before moving to Hebden Bridge, did you live around there all the time?

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    CH: I lived there until I was eighteen and when I was eighteen I went away to university in Cardiff.

    TW:

    Right. How did you get to Hebden Bridge then?

    CH: Well I’d moved to Leeds. I had friends in Leeds; I had a friend from sixth form college who’d gone to my college at Leeds Poly. I went up to stay with her and I fell in love with one of her fellow students and I moved up there to be with him, but it was a disaster, it didn’t last, but I carried on living in Leeds. I met some people who brought me out to Hebden Bridge one day to look for magic mushrooms actually.....one of the friends was called Axle and he was German. We went out in his VW and we ended up on a track on the moors, finally by a reservoir where a water board worker came out and told us off. Axle pretended not to be able to speak English, so.....the water board worker was quite helpful and showed us how we could get out of the field and back onto the road again, and ever since then I’ve loved the place and I decided one day I was gonna move here. I did actually move to the area six years later. A friend of mine had seen an advert for short-term let of a cottage at Blackshaw Head and I....rang up about it and went to see the people and a few months later I’d moved in.

    TW:

    Have you been here ever since then?

    CH: No, on and off. That was for nine months....the people who owned the cottage, they were working away and so I obviously had to move out when they came back. I did actually go up to Orkney for a while and then back to Leeds, and then within a year I was back in this area, first in Todmorden then at Foster Clough, finally Hebden and then I went away, then I came back again.....

    TW:

    So when you went to college, did you study Art or anything like that?

    CH: I studied Botany

    TW:

    Oh is that right?

    CH: Yes, but I only lasted a term doing Botany in Cardiff because what happened was, I’d done Botany at A Level at my sixth form college and I absolutely loved it and what I really liked about it was going into the field, collecting and identifying flowers, bringing them back, dissecting them, drawing them and.....yes, so that was the side of it that I liked and I got a place to study that at Reading and I then I went a bit, I went off the rails a bit in my last year at sixth form and just didn’t get my grades, so I ended

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    up going to Cardiff through clearing and it was a completely different course. It was very much....on the cellular level....

    TW:

    Much more scientific

    CH: Much more scientific and I wasn’t interested in that at all, and also it was....huge numbers of people; there’d be over a hundred people in the laboratories and in the lecture halls, and I was used to...there were six of us in my Botany group at A Level [laughing] it was very different and I didn’t like it, so

    TW:

    A bit of a shock really

    CH: Yes it was, yes, so I dropped out and in those...we were very lucky, very lucky compared to today’s students because in those days not only did you get your fees paid, a full maintenance grant, that was means tested but if your parents’ income was below a certain level you got the full maintenance grant and if you decided you didn’t....happy with the course after a term then you could leave and still have those same rights for later on.

    TW:

    Right, very good. So this love of plants that you developed from that age, has that carried through then to the work that you do with Treesponsibility?

    CH: Yes very much, yes.

    TW:

    How did you get involved with Treesponsibility?

    CH: I started to volunteer for them and going out on their.......going out on the volunteer days, there used to be volunteer days every week through the planting season and then there would be big events like the New Year’s planting, the autumn gathering, the birthday, and I always used to go to those but I very quickly became more than just someone who went out to plant trees. I began to help with other stuff, with the gatherings

    TW:

    Help organise things

    CH: Help organise things yes, and also I was able to use my theatre skills. I would usually do....something, usually an instant theatre for the gathering which is....that’s what I learnt to do well; I’d trained in Community Arts. I’d get a group of people to make up a story and act it out

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    TW:

    Right. Where did you study Community Arts?

    CH: Well I finally did my degree in Creative Arts at Crewe College and I worked for a community theatre company in Dorset after that.

    TW:

    Right. So the work that you do now for Treesponsibility – has that changed over the years? I mean, how long have you actually been there?

    CH: I’ve been working for them since June 2005. I started working for them when they....they got some funding from DEFRA’s Rural Enterprise Scheme to start doing tree planting holidays and I got the job as a Co-ordinator for that project, and I also did some funding to do residentials for children, so as we continued to do the holidays I continued to do that rather than co-ordinating

    TW:

    What kind of work do you do with residentials with the children then?

    CH: With the children, they....we usually have them three days. We stay with them at Blake Dean Hostel and we try to give them a completely different experience from their life experience....they’re always....they are children who are deprived in terms of not having access to the countryside...

    TW:

    Are these inner city kids mostly

    CH: Yes, but from Halifax mostly, schools in Halifax and particularly the children from West Central Halifax who are often from British Muslim families, British Pakistani families and they have no tradition in their families of going out to the countryside....and they also have other issues, like language issues often, even though they might be third generation British, they will still speak an Asian language in the home and so in effect, English continues to be their second language, and there continues to be sort of problems with integration so.......we aim to not just give them an experience of the countryside, we try to bring them in touch with their environment and with the cycles of nature, we try to help with their other problems of language and integration as well.

    TW:

    Right

    CH: So as well as.....they only do one morning of tree planting – three days of tree planting for ten year old kids would be too much – we do walks and....we start off in Heptonstall doing a history walk around Heptonstall, we go into the museum and then we walk along the Colden Valley...to Hebble Hole, we walk along the top of the

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    valley and we come back along the river, and we....try in that context to give them an idea of how the people who have lived in this area have interacted and to a certain extent shaped the landscape as time’s gone on.

    TW:

    What kind of feedback do you get from them at the end of the three days then?

    CH: Mostly that they’ve really enjoyed it. We always do a quiz on the last night to find out how much they’ve absorbed and the last two groups have done very well in the quiz, you know, the teachers say it’s an invaluable experience for them and.....one little boy we had on the residential last year, this wasn’t from....this was actually from a North Halifax primary school, not Central Halifax, and he.....had certain special needs, some behavioural problems; he found it almost impossible to settle down and concentrate, he was like......couldn’t keep still and he was very....it was really hard to get him to talk to you or look you in the eye and then this year, after the class from that school had come out again and went back to school at the end with the children and saw him, and he looked – I recognised him but he looked completely different and he saw me and he smiled and said ‘hello’ and he’d remembered me, and....I didn’t feel at the time when he was on his residential that he’d connected with me at all, so I thought that was a good indication that you know, he’d had a good experience.

    TW:

    Right. I’d like to talk about the theatre work that you used to do with Coyote Dream Theatre I think it was called – correct me if I’m mistaken

    CH: That’s correct, Coyote Dream Theatre.

    TW:

    How did that come about then?

    CH: After I left the community theatre company I’d been working with in Dorset, I left them partly because I had missed it here so much, I’d missed the landscape, it had got so under my skin and I missed the drama of the landscape and it had become.....it had become a creative inspiration, it had become....fundamental to my identity somehow which is strange because I still feel like in many ways I’m a Southerner you know, I don’t feel like a naturalised Northerner, not by any means and.....you don’t really get accepted round here by you know, people who’ve been here all their lives, not a hundred per cent you don’t.

    TW:

    So what kind of theatre group did you begin when you came up here?

    CH: The company I’d been working for, they were called Word and Action and they worked exclusively in the round so the audience, well technically it’s a square so the audience sits around and the action takes place in the middle......the guy who was the

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    Director of the company who I can’t remember his name at the moment – Gregory – we always called him Greg, but Gregory was his surname and I can’t remember what his first name was right now

    PERSON IN BACKGROUND: Does anybody else want another drink or anything?

    TW:

    No

    CH: No I’m alright thanks. Yeah, he was very very much a socialist [the kettle filling]

    TW: I’ll turn it off for now.

    CH: Yes, Word In Action....what was I saying...worked exclusively in the round. The Director, Greg, who founded the company back in the seventies, this was ’96 when I joined them, he was just about as much a socialist as he was a theatre practitioner, and he felt that the...the style of theatre that we probably think of as being traditional....obviously it has its context as well, is with the presidian arch, the stage, the actors up on the stage with the audience seated below them in front of them, and he thought that mirrored the hierarchy of society, so he felt that theatre-in-the-round was the most egalitarian form of theatre, and I found acting in the round, I found it totally liberating, I loved it. We mostly used to do something called Instant Theatre which again was a form particularly developed by Greg with Word and Action, and we’d work as a team of three, there’d be a questioner, a first actor and a second actor, and the questioner would go in, get the story from the audience and he’d begin with the five W’s – who, when, where, what – ‘what’s the weather like, what happens next’, and then they’d have to judge what questions to ask in order to...to see where their thought story was going; ask questions that would most facilitate the story....the two rules – we weren’t allowed to ask leading questions and the first answer to every question was true and went into the story, no matter how outrageous it might be, it had to go in to the story and when there was enough for a first scene, the questioner then becomes the Stage Director; get members of the audience to come out and act the parts – everything would be played by an audience member, whether it’s a table, a shoe, a hat, a cat or a person. The first actor would always take the main character and the second actor would decide, they would decide at the end what they were gonna do and they would take the part that they thought would best support the....the other parts, yes, so it was very skilled and....we used to tour all round Europe and beyond doing that and working in schools, and it would be a creative language experience for the children learning English at school, you know, as everyone in the world learns English at school if they’re lucky enough to go to school of course, and but then....two or three times a year we would do a play as well which we’d just do for the community in Wimborne which is where the company was based.....and then also once a year there would be a festival of the theatre-in-the-round. The year after I moved back here, Word and Action were hosting the festival of theatre-in-the-round and I decided that I was going to do something to take down to it and.....I’d a friend in Hebden who wanted to work with me and so we developed a little piece together and we took it down and performed it at the festival of the theatre-in-the-round, so

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    that was the.....that was the beginning. We called it The Little Round Theatre Company then, and it was just the two of us, but we did a few performances of that piece......and then a couple of years later we decided that we would do something for Hebden Bridge Arts Festival; I’d become friends with a man called John who had moved to Hebden from Manchester and lived on a boat, and he was called John the Barge and we actually became partners, but the.....three of us plus another guy, we created this piece for the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival that year and I was trying to think of a name for the company. I had....I think it was three days to think of a name for the company and a name for the piece in order to get into the programme, to meet the deadline – the printer’s deadline, and....I’d actually been reading the poetry of Ted Hughes at the time; I’ve had phases of reading Ted Hughes all through my life but this was a particular one and I was reading the Crow poems and I was reading some essays about Ted Hughes along with it, and the essays explained that the crow in these poems was a trickster which is a character that comes up in lots of sort of ancient cultures, like Native American and Inuits in particular, and the trickster embodies all the characteristics that are human but we might not necessarily want to own....but they’re also necessary for you know, the human species’ survival as well, and I got really fascinated by this idea.....in the Native American tradition, the trickster is often the coyote. I also liked working with people’s dreams and aspirations you know, what we hope for, what we wish for as well as our actual night- time dreams and this idea of dream world, it’s a world of archetypes.....I do believe underlie a lot of the human personality, so as I said all these things you know, were going on in my mind and I was trying to think of a name and then...it just came to me, it had to be Coyote Dream Theatre

    TW:

    Right

    CH: So that was how that started.....we did a piece for that festival and that was 1999, and then for every arts festival up until 2005, so me and John broke up and that was the end of the group although it still exists on paper and I have done a couple of projects since then under the name of Coyote Dream Theatre

    TW:

    Right. The work that you did, was it kind of based on the Word and Action type of stuff where you involve the audience in a bigger way and did you do other things?

    CH: I did use that instant theatre format for...you know, I just used to do it sometimes because I wanted to do it and did it a few times in different places around Hebden and I used to use it in my work in schools; I often found it was a good way to begin projects....to sort of do that with a class and then we would use the ideas that came up, you know, well it could go anywhere after that, but it gave me something to work with and it was a way to....get the children going really, creatively.

    TW:

    Well you mentioned earlier that you had a sort of love of plants and also when you came to Hebden Bridge initially then moved away, you missed the drama of the

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    landscape around here and since you’ve been here, how do you relate the area as fitting in with kind of your aspirations? I’d better stop a second

    CH: Yeah I’d better stop and think about this.

    The one occasion where.....you know, this particular place.....was direct, had a direct effect on a piece of theatre was when....it must have been 2001 I think.....no it was 2002, that’s right, it must have been 2002....I’d decided that I wanted to do a piece that was based in local history....so I need to give a bit of background actually to how we actually worked because I’d always start again in September every year, and John and I, we would put out some advertisements and say we were doing some open workshops; they’d always happen on a Monday night and....at Holme Street Art Centre, and anyone who came along to that....we would accept them if you know....if that person liked the way we worked, then they would stay for the nine months from September to the following June/July when the arts festival was, so we’d work with whoever came along. We worked through improvisation, research, any stimulus that anyone wanted to introduce – any exercise that anyone wanted to introduce and gradually over the weeks the ideas would start to emerge and the piece would start to take shape; it’s a bit alchemical, which I really love that process – I find it really exciting, some people hate it, some people came along and couldn’t bear working in that way, they found it just too frustrating and...it can be a bit frightening in a way because you go through stages where you’re absolutely getting nowhere and this idea’s never going to come together into a piece of theatre and that can be a bit frightening, it could just make you feel quite desolate because you’re working with your inner resources, it can bring up sort of disturbing memories and associations for you as well, but I can live with that and I think it’s actually important for us as human beings to be able to look at those dark things inside us and it’s just coming to me actually as well that......one of the reasons why I feel so at home in this landscape is because that is dark and of the time and its......for me it’s......yeah, it reflects that darkness of you know, our humanness and that’s an essential drama which is at the centre of our beings....I feel somehow that the landscape and the elements.....the harshness of the elements here exposes that far, far more than the soft southern landscape and climate does, but anyway this year, so we were doing a piece on local history and we were doing a bit of research, bringing in different ideas and we decided to do the Mankinholes Riots, but you probably don’t want me to go into that cos

    TW:

    You can if you like

    CH: Basically...it was Poor Law Riots when the Government tried to introduce the new Poor Law in was it 1838....I can’t remember, but it was around then, I can’t remember when it was exactly, where people could no longer receive what was called outdoor relief. If they were so desperate that they needed support from the Parish they would have to go into a workhouse and live in terrible conditions, and work really hard for their sustenance, and there’d be a set of Governors appointed and they would collect Poor Law rates from the rate payers and that money would go towards building and maintaining a workhouse, but the people at Mankinholes refused to do it,

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    and so the Poor Law Commission in London sent up some bailiffs to take away goods from one of the Governor’s houses, and on the day it was coming the people came out of the mills, the two local mills were given the day off – all the people came out and opposed the bailiffs and sent them packing back to London and there was never a workhouse in Mankinholes, so we that’s why we chose that story.

    TW:

    Very good. You haven’t done theatre work in a little while. Is that because you’ve been helping to work on this housing co-op and develop the work here?

    CH: No, it’s because my work with Treesponsibility has taken over. It was meant to be my day job to start with, but it’s such an all encompassing thing that you just get totally immersed in it. The year after I became one of the paid workers was the year of the first Camp for Climate Action, so as Treesponsibility is being a climate action group, we were sort of at the core of that really and....so for the next four years Climate Camp took up my summer, and then starting the Transition Town here, that came out of that as well, and that’s taken up the rest of my time, and then the co-op takes up.....[laughing]

    TW:

    Anything that’s left

    CH: Anything that’s left, yeah

    TW:

    Well how did your involvement in Transition Town then come about? I mean you say it comes out of what you were doing with Treesponsibility but why did you need something extra?

    CH: Well....during the Heathrow camp in 2007, there were thirteen people from Hebden at that camp and there were a few of us who were just sitting round the table chatting one day, having a cup of tea, and we were saying ‘what are we gonna take away from this? What are we gonna take home with us?’ and a couple of the women had been to a workshop on the Transition Town Movement and had been really inspired from it; they thought it was a fantastic idea, and we decided that when we went back home we’d call a meeting and see if we could begin to raise some interest in it, so that’s how it started.

    TW:

    Well what was it – when you say Transition Town then, what does it actually mean?

    CH: Right. The movement started with the ideas of a man called Rob Hopkins. He is a teacher of permaculture.....don’t know if you want me to explain permaculture but that’s a whole...

    TW:

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    You can

    CH: level of explanation.....permaculture was an idea that was developed in the seventies. I can’t remember the names of the two guys who developed it. One of them certainly was an Australian and they were very very concerned with how human life was destroying the planet basically. They were particularly concerned with soil depletion and water depletion in Australia so they came up with this idea of....we actually needed to observe how nature worked and plan how we did things according to how nature did it, so it was about sort of the intelligent design and it was about culture so it was being as.....so bringing that right back into the heart of human cultures in that sense.....and the design meant looking at a way of working with the land that was through a design that was permanent so it was looking into the long-term future rather than just a sort of immediate contingency, so permaculture, that’s how it came about. Rob Hopkins was very concerned with the fact that we’re really not getting to grips with tackling the issue of climate change, and also the fact that we are heavily dependent on oil and very soon the fact that it may have already started, I think it probably has, we were gonna reach the point where the production of oil was gonna peak, that’s called peak oil, and he realised that governments, communities were not planning for it and they were needing to plan for that, so he saw these as, these should be twin drivers of our policy – peak oil and climate change – and building resilience in our communities, those two things, and he thought that community by community, town by town, we’d get a broad base of people involved on working on this transition to a low carbon economy way of living, and hence Transition Town. We thought this was a really good idea and decided to bring that back to Hebden Bridge; we thought Hebden Bridge would be a place where it should work very well because they were already very aware people living here....yeah, people with concerns about sustainability and so on, so that’s how I got involved

    TW:

    So are there any activities that Transition Town people get involved in, or is it just a kind of philosophy that you are trying to spread?

    CH: It is very much a practical thing. The idea is that.......to create a plan, a thirty year plan, you know, sort of making the shift from the level of.....use of fossil fuels now and taking that down to a optimum level in thirty years in the future, but it involves all sorts of practical steps along the way you know, starting to get projects under way that can build and you know, until the town is in a position to......start drawing its energy from natural resources, growing its own food, having its own finance and so on, so you know, very much practical projects to that aim of low carbon economy

    TW:

    Right. So creating your own energy either from water or wind power or with the other kind of project you wanna get involved with then?

    CH: Yes.

    TW:

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    What do you say to people then who you know, I suppose the nimbys (not in my back yard) of this world you know, someone wants to put a big wind farm up on top of the moors and they say ‘we don’t want that because it spoils our view’. With your kind of love of the landscape that you were talking about, what do you think about all that then?

    CH: That’s a difficult one really, but I don’t think we should just stick wind farms willy nilly all over the moors. I think they should be placed strategically to give you know, maximum benefit for minimum impact and that involves consultation and.....it’s much much better if there’s like one turbine to serve several households so you know, if there are several households deriving the benefits such as from the feeding tariffs, I think that’s a much better way to approach it rather than you know, than individuals all putting in a planning application just to have their own wind turbine, so I think first of all to consult people, let people see that there are benefits for them and you know, then go from there you know, and try to....this is very hard, but try to....cos it is very hard for us to put ourselves into the position of imagining a future crisis; we’re all very good at dealing with immediate crises but not planning for something that might happen in the future, so it is very hard to get across the idea that you know, if we go on producing the levels of carbon dioxide that we are, we are going to seriously destabilise our climate and we’re you know, gonna create a situation where the planet can support far, far, far communities than it does now and......but you just have to do your best, I mean....sometimes it seems hopeless, but I’m of the mind that I can’t not try

    TW:

    Would you say the Transition Town people in Hebden Bridge, I mean if there was like a plan for a mega sort of wind farm out in the North Sea somewhere that could serve a large portion of the north of England, would the different Transition Towns around in the north all join together to help support a project like that?

    CH: Yes, yes. The idea that the Transition Town, it’s a movement, it’s a network so....you know, the different Transition Towns, there’s over.....the last time I checked the numbers there was well over three hundred in the country and there’s probably more now because it’s a while since I checked on the numbers. The idea is we communicate with each other and derive inspiration and support from each other.

    TW:

    Right. Can I ask you about something else now really? This house that you live in, it used to be a pub at one time, I mean it was probably something else before that but now it’s a housing co-operative. How did your involvement in the co-operative come about?

    CH: I was in a position where I’d been living in a house for five years and I was very soon gonna have to move out; the house was being sold, so I knew I had to look for somewhere to live. I also had a dream of having a theatre one day, you know, a creative theatre having its own community theatre building and I just happened to go

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    along to the Salem Community Centre to volunteer to help put the LETS catalogue together and I met a guy there called Dave Brookes who wanted to start a housing co- op and he.....he’d been at a festival in summer, one of the green gatherings, I’m not sure if it was the Big Green Gathering or if it was the Northern Green Gathering and he’d come across an organisation called Radical Roots which is a co-op of co-ops; it was set up in the eighties I think to help activists get secure housing, so from there he learnt about the idea of a housing co-op. He at the time was living in one of the Zion cottages which backs on to the Zion Baptist Chapel which is on Osbourne Street on Birchcliffe. He got home to find he had a letter saying....giving him two months notice to move out because the building, the whole building was being sold; the Zion Baptist Chapel and the Zion Terrace, and he put the two ideas together and he thought ‘I’ll get a housing co-op together and we’ll buy this place’ so whilst standing up in that room putting the catalogues together he was telling me about it and I thought ‘what a wonderful idea and this would solve my two problems’ it would give, you know, it would give me you know, a secure place to live where I had all you know, as a member of the housing co-op I’d have control over my own housing and a building that could be a theatre, so I just....I bought into it and immediately I said ‘yes’ and I’ve never looked back.

    TW:

    Right. So how long have you actually been here?

    CH: We’ve been in this house since December the 23rd 2002. The co-op was formed in September 2001.

    TW:

    Right.

    CH: We didn’t manage to get the original, obviously because we’re in the Nutclough Tavern, we didn’t get the building that we wanted, the Zion Baptist Chapel and terrace; that is where the name comes from, Zion, although now we’re still....officially on all our paperwork we’re Zion Housing Co-op we’re actually calling ourselves Nutclough now

    TW:

    Oh do you?

    CH: We do yes.

    TW:

    Do you have to formally change that name then, if you wanted?

    CH: Yes, yeah, we’d have to because we’re registered with ICOF, the Industrial Co- operative....thing [laughing] and our bank account is with Companies House so we’d have to re-register which would cost us a few hundred pounds and we haven’t got round to doing that yet, but we tell everybody that we’re called Nutclough.

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    TW:

    I see. How many people live here?

    CH: Eight.

    TW:

    Right. And how do people get to live here then? Do you have like a list where people can apply?

    CH: Well, ideally we would like to have a reserve of members in waiting, but we’ve never been able to achieve that; it’s always happened that when a room’s come empty we’ve had to advertise and then see who comes along. We’ve quite recently acquired a new member......and that seems to be working out very well. He’s a most energetic young man

    TW:

    Do you have any plans to expand or do some new building, or is that out of the question?

    CH: Well.....this is something that comes up from time to time and there are people in Hebden who would like to live in a co-op but for one reason or another, either they’re a family – it wouldn’t suit them to live in a space like this where here, every person has an individual room but the rest of the house is communal and for a family you know, they’d have to pay the rent for every room; it would actually work out quite expensive for a family, so we’ve often thought about maybe buying other properties so that......for families or other people to be members and to be housed, but.....some people in the co-op are quite understandably, don’t want to enlarge our financial commitment any more than it is, you know, and especially as we seem to keep having to borrow more money in order to be able to deal with sort of major maintenance things that come up, so...

    TW:

    Fair enough. I want to ask you about Hebden Bridge really because you did say earlier you didn’t think the local people totally accepted outsiders shall we say, off- cumdens as they call them, and half the people in Hebden must be off-cumdens now

    CH: They must be

    TW:

    So, how does that mix work? I mean, what’s your experience of born and bred and people from other areas? How do they blend together?

    CH: .............I’m trying to think......it’s the.....most of the people that I know well are off-cumdens like me; most of the people who have been involved in things I do are

    ChristinaHooleytransPage 13

    likewise with a few exceptions. Mostly when you meet more indigenous people they’re working in some of the shops and the pubs and so on, or.....that’s mostly how you know, where the two communities are inter-faced and in schools.....I mean I don’t have children myself so.....obviously there’s a lot more integration where people have children of the same age and they’re taking their children to school.

    TW:

    Right. I just want to ask a question about the future really. If say in twenty or thirty years’ time, you know, the work of Treesponsibility flourishes and Transition Town works really well and the sort of, the alternative people that are in this area carry on believing in that ethos and move forward, how do you think it will affect the landscape because you said you loved the harshness of it and it reflects kind of like the inner being of people. If it changes over a period of twenty or thirty years, how do you think that will then, you know, if you could live for another thirty years and then see what the landscape was like then, how do you think that would reflect on human nature?

    CH: Well the moor tops would really stay the same. If the Treesponsibility plan goes ahead, which is to.....a lot of our tree planting is for flood mitigation because even though it’s dry at the moment, the climate change scenario for our area is that we will get more incidents of heavy rainfall, so we try to get land in the water catchment area that’s on the steep valley sides so there’d be trees on all the steep valley sides.....the fields from the Transition Town, from the local food point of view, all the fields that were originally farmland would be productive from growing vegetables and there would also be managed woodland where the woodland would be coppiced to produce firewood and for some timber products. There would be some wind turbines in the landscape; there wouldn’t be.....the landscape wouldn’t be by no means dominated by wind farms; there would be water turbines in the water producing electricity that would be using the old water mill infrastructure which is in most of the rivers is still there.

    TW:

    That’s a good master plan! Is there anything that you would like to say – I’m not asking you a question; is there anything that you would like to say about your feelings or vision of this area?

    CH: ..........I’d like to see more of people working together and appreciating and supporting each other. I’d like to see people taking more responsibility for themselves in the way they live their lives.....and I’d like people to be.......yeah, to be more involved in decisions that affect their lives and affect our community, and generally for people to be more relaxed, less suspicious of each other and I think more of a need to slow down as well, I think really the key to tackling climate change and reducing carbon emissions is not to – well we couldn’t replace our present energy consumption with renewables, but we need to use less energy and I think we need to slow down, do less work, so less work and more community

    TW:

    ChristinaHooleytransPage 14

    Right that’s a good idea I think. Well I think we’ll end there if that’s alright and thank you very much

    CH: Thank you Tony. It’s been really interesting actually, talking and I’ve enjoyed just talking!

    [END OF TRACK 1]

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About Us

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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Pennine Heritage Ltd.
The Birchcliffe Centre
Hebden Bridge
HX7 8DG

Phone: 01422 844450
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