History of growing and cooking

These pages are all about food in Todmorden in former times. I hope it will also provide entertainment and inspiration. Click on People’s voices to the left, then on one of the names that appears, to listen to people’s memories from the hungry years of the first half of the twentieth century, when two world wars and a depression meant food was often short, but ingenious and creative Todmorden folk knew just how to produce food in the most unlikely circumstances. Learn how grapes were grown here in Todmorden, how to use every scrap of meat from a sheep’s ‘jmmy’, about cellars containing live fish, gardens up on the edge of the moor, allotments behind the cricket club, and how to get live chicks from a rubbish dump. And much much more!

Or browse some of the fascinating descriptions of life on a 1930s Pennine Hill farm by local author Eric Greenwood, who was born at Hartley Royd Farm in 1929.

Or you can go further back in time and investigate the evidence given at the small tithes survey of 1828, when the Vicar of Halifax tried to wring some more taxes out of the reluctant and largely non-conformist populace.

And if you are bored with Mrs Beeton and fancy trying some local historical recipes, we will be building a collection of charity recipe books produced in the town between 1927 and 1955. It starts off with some variations of that seasonal favourite – Parkin.

Also coming soon to the site – a photo gallery from Todmorden’s past. Many thanks to Roger Birch for his permission to include photos from his Todmorden albums on this site.

If anyone has any comments, corrections or contributions for the site please write to Rachael Babar