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Hebden Bridge: A Sense of Belonging Hardcover – 10 May 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln; First Edition edition (10 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711232156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711232150
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 387,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

A classic in the making

(Simon Jenkins)

I loved this book...Lively, humorous and incisive

(The Dalesman)

Chapters meander through villages, eras, topics; some sections are composed purely from snippets of observations, or extracts from conversations past and present. . . The sense of place for which [Barker] is searching becomes implicitly nostalgic.

(Times Literary Supplement)

...a rich, sometimes sad, often funny book.

(Yorkshire Post)

Paul mixes personal memories with interviews and criticisms to work out what makes the beloved area tick.

(Yorshire Ridings magazine)

A vivid portrait of the place, its people and its progress...Sure to inspire others to go on a hunt of their own.

(Best of British)

Perceptive, enjoyable book.

(The Lady)

An evocative, affectionate and realistic look at the changing face of the small Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge.

(BBC Who Do You Think You Are)

At once an invaluable social history and a 'bloody good story'.

(West End Extra)

Provides plenty of food for thought.

(Hebden Bridge Times)

Barker lets the journey take him where it will, a meandering underpinned by some very incisive journalism. No assumptions: he seeks out the villagers who can help... In his story of one village - which might be any village in these times of change - he takes us to a very rich place indeed.

(Independent)

Paul is perfectly placed to chronicle and analyse both the changes and the continuities that make Hebden Bridge special, and his lively, colourful portrayal mixes personal and family memories with interviews, investigations, as well as criticism.

(Halifax Courier)

About the Author

Paul Barker regularly writes and broadcasts on social, cultural and urban issues. He is a senior research fellow of the Young Foundation in East London, and the former Editor of New Society magazine. His latest book is Hebden Bridge : A Sense of Belonging, as well as The Other Britain, Living as Equals, Arts in Society and The Freedoms of Suburbia. Born in West Yorkshire, he now lives in North London.


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I loved this book, described by its author as 'a quest and a celebration'. In it, social history is vividly brought to life through an engaging combination of personal memory, interviews, facts from the past and contemporary observation. Paul Barker writes evocatively about the small town and its surrounding villages in the Upper Calder Valley where he grew up feeling as though he was related to about a third of the local population. As an experienced journalist he brings a convincing objectivity to his account of what the years have done to his birthplace and how changes have affected both it and its inhabitants, although his 'sense of belonging' is apparent throughout. I enjoyed the way that the short chapters move us from place to place, person to person, past to present - and back again. The verbal transcripts are lively and frequently poignant, and his detailed pictorial descriptions help to set the scene. Although it is about one particular locality, I believe that this is the kind of people's history - still ongoing, and too seldom featured in traditional history books - that is likely to strike a chord in many readers, no matter where they come from. And it makes me want to visit Hebden Bridge myself!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a great book. I began by not particularly liking the writing style although the content was fascinating.

I quickly adapted to the writing style and came to love it.

I couldn't wait to get back to the book and my only regret is that it ended too quickly.

Written from an autobiographical point of view I suppose - it really is a personal journey with many interesting historical facts entwined throughout the narrative.

What a wonderful way to portray the local history in a very refreshing and unusual format.

As a relatively recent offcomer who has known the area for years I thought that there could have been some further inclusions (what about May's shop (Aladdins Cave)?) but it is understandable that it is a personal choice and space is by necessity limited.

I think this is a wonderful read - I am about to lend it to a friend who left Hebden Bridge over forty years ago and I'm sure he will love it as he will know all the places and, probably, most of the characters as well.
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Format: Hardcover
I think the author has done a brilliant job of capturing the peculiar charm of Hebden Bridge- that mix of solid old Yorkshire tradition and the recent overlay of creativity and innovation. Barker is interested in all aspects of the town - its landscape, its industrial history, its commerce, its architecture - but it is his journalistic feel for the lives of individual inhabitants - and his ability to draw them out in interviews - which makes the book special. His affection for the place and its people is obvious but it is never sentimental and he is not afraid to examine the darker side or ask the difficult questions. This is a clear-eyed as well as a warm-hearted book.
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Format: Hardcover
A captivating book, in which Barker blends interviews with Hebden Bridge residents from the 1970s and the present day with historical descriptions and personal recollections. The overall effect of this approach is an accurate, fascinating and moving picture of this small town, which displays a keen sense of history and is rooted in its landscape and people. Despite the enormous social changes that have taken place over time, it becomes apparent that there is a sense of constancy to Hebden Bridge. The parallels (and differences) with other small towns in the UK and elsewhere are apparent and add a broader value to this book, as a social documentary of the time. Photographic illustrations include early works by Martin Parr. A quote from Simon Jenkins on the cover calls this book 'a classic in the making', and I absolutely agree.
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Format: Hardcover
This excellent book will interest anyone who has that sense of connection to a home town or region, more particularly to people who know Hebden Bridge perhaps, either as a resident or a visitor, but not necessarily. The contrasting views of people interviewed thirty or forty years ago to the views of people who currently live in the area mixed in with the personal memories of the author give a unique perspective of how the area has evolved. The effect of the local geography on inhabitants' characters is also intriguing. A very enjoyable and informative read.
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Format: Hardcover
You don't need to know Hebden Bridge well to enjoy this book, you don't even have to have heard of the place, the writer's skill is in making it seem unique and special and just like "your town" at the same time. I associate Hebden with handsome strong stone buildings, hanging-basket award-winning, great little bookshops, water and a cosmopolitan attitude. In Sheffield, whenever Hebden Bridge is mentioned, someone, usually me, pipes up, "Did you know it's the lesbian capital of the north"? Paul Barker easily convinces you that is a lot more than that, makes you wish you were born there without gilding this particular lily of the valley. Neither does he hide the fact that a lot of people move away and that successive waves of newcomers take their place with their own wants, needs and ideas of how to live. He cleverly combines interviews given 40 years ago, some with the first wave of "offcomers", with those of current residents. They sound like people I grew up living next door to. They sound like a community.
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