Breathing new life into bridge with a new name

Skircoat ward councillors, Coun John Hardy and Cllr Andrew Tagg, meeting pupils at Copley Primary School
Skircoat ward councillors, Coun John Hardy and Cllr Andrew Tagg, meeting pupils at Copley Primary School

The new Copley Bridge will be named Wilson Bridge, after Graham Wilson who lived at the adjacent toll house for many years until his recent death.

The name was chosen by children from Copley Primary School and the local community.

Calderdale Council is rebuilding the 185-year-old bridge after it was destroyed by the 2015 floods, and wanted to involve local people in renaming the historic structure.

The school pupils had fun researching the history of Copley Bridge and the surrounding area, and created a poll for people to have their say on the new name for the bridge.

Wilson Bridge was the clear winner, with nearly 60% of the votes. Other contenders included ‘Calder Bridge’, ‘People’s Bridge’ and ‘Lucy Grey Bridge’, according to local legend, her spirit haunts the nearby woods.

Copley Bridge was historically a toll bridge, and the pupils discovered from their research that Mr Wilson made many improvements in his time living at the old cottage. Mr Wilson also worked at Calderdale College.

To recognise the work that the schoolchildren put into the renaming, Calderdale councillors visited Copley Primary School, and pupils from the school council presented their research findings and the results of their poll.

Coun Barry Collins, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “The new name is fitting as it represents a key part of the bridge’s recent history. I’m especially happy with the decision to name the new bridge after Graham Wilson. Like lots of other local people I knew him for many years and was really saddened by his death.”

Nan Oldfield, Headteacher of Copley Primary School, said: “The children on the school council have been so excited to be involved in the renaming of the bridge. The children came up with some fantastic ideas but the winning name of Wilson Bridge was a popular choice with the school community.”

The construction of the new bridge is reaching its final stages and is due to be completed by this autumn.

Once open, it will provide access for pedestrians, horses and non-motorised vehicles.