West Vale Works, Greetland

I’ve feared this one for a while now. An empty Victorian mill won’t stay put for long, what with all that brownfield land underneath it. The magnificent West Vale Works in Calderdale will be demolished:

https://portal.calderdale.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=O0U6L9DWL1400https://portal.calderdale.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=O0U6L9DWL1400

West Vale Mill 3

Heritage England contemplated listing the building, but it would seem that if another example of said building exists (ie a Victorian Mill) then protection is not warranted, regardless of how important the building is to the landscape or local context. I’m glad this logic did not apply to the Colosseum.

 

West Vale Mill

The rows of terraces lead to the mill, telling the story of daily life in Victorian West Yorkshire.

West Vale Mill 2

 

No one really knows about West Vale. Some argue that it doesn’t exist, and it is in fact Greetland. I’ll leave that decision to the people who live there. I do know however that driving through this village just outside of Elland is West Yorkshire embodied. Photos sadly can not capture how to feels to move through this town past these monuments.

So perfect is the industrial townscape of West Vale, I considered moving there. The loss of this mill and the onset of suburbia in its place will personally devastate me. One by one, the places which embody our Northern identity are being sterilised. We long for authenticity in life, and allowing the market to dictate land use in this way will soon render England soulless.

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