Before we get started and you start planning your trip to Fax , lets be clear despite what it may look like on Google Maps its a fair old shlep to Shibden from the town centre – up a couple of steepish hills alongside some pretty horrendous major roads with who’s only way to cross is traversing the worlds most horrendous footbridge which looks like its held together by good luck and the lack of a strong breeze – the mutt wasn’t too keen but then fair neither was I
Wandering out of the bus station you cross the spectacular Victorian North Bridge . Some 100 foot high onto a concrete car park below it has obviously become the final point of no return for the desperate of Halifax judging by the countess postcards , attached to the bridge railings , featuring positive mental health messages and contact detail for helplines and services ,in a hope of deterring those poor buggers that find themselves at such a low point . Kudos to which ever organisation or individual’s responsible , powerful stuff
For the uni- initiated Shibden Hall was the home of one Ann Lister , infamous land owner and industrialist back in the early -mid 1800’s , developing mines , roads and agricultural lands at a time when it was more common for ladies to be uneducated , giggling politely in a corner behind their fans .Lister was having none of this becoming well read in engineering and science as well as travelling around Europe to increase her knowledge of the world .
Not sure what the Lady of the House would have made of the Kids Funfair currently occupying her front , lawn but I’m sure she’d approved of the LGBT rainbow flag flying defiantly from the main flagpole – nice touch Calderdale Council !
Sadly if after mopping up the history you find yourself in need of a swift cold one , its a tad barren around the near environs of Shibden , with most watering holes either Real Ale-less or Dog Unfriendly so it was the wander back down into town and a wander to two of Halifaxs finest Beer establishments.
Our second stop was the remarkably small yet perfectly formed Grayson Unity ‘bar and meeting place ‘ (it’s own wonderfully accurate description on its website ) be found at the rear of the impressive town hall and only a stagger away from the bus station. With an interior that is a cross between victorian ale house and your Granny’s 1970s front room, its community feel shines through , live music, talks , papers and coffee on a Sunday , you name it they do it .. and pork pies on the bar as well 🙂 Loads of well kept beers including a fine Goose Eye ‘Chinook’ and lots of interesting spirits as well to keep most people happy
It was fairly quiet on our visit , only a swift pint n a pie but the on our previous trip to Halifax we had been seriously way-laid in the Unity , a pit stop turning into a long session of eclectic conversation and far too much alcohol on wet and cold December Afternoon . On that occasion walking into a busy bar to be met by at the lass behind the bar , who despite the numbers waiting put service on hold , as ‘bugger off no ones getting served till I’ve fussed the dog ‘ ! Easy to see that Canine Customers are very much part of the furniture here – although its to be noted they aren’t encouraged on music nights when the whole atmosphere can be a bit much ..
Other useful stuff on t’interweb
Getting thy sen there …