Bid to keep birthplace of Ted Hughes alive

Ted Hughes and his birthplace in Mytholmroyd
Ted Hughes and his birthplace in Mytholmroyd

The Mytholmroyd birthplace of Ted Hughes, one of the country’s greatest writers, could be set to raise its profile on the national map, as Calderdale Council’s Cabinet considers the future management of the building.

The world-renowned former poet and children’s author was born at 1 Aspinall Street in Mytholmroyd on August 17, 1930, and was Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998.

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The Elmet Trust, a charity celebrating the life and works of Ted Hughes, has leased his childhood home from the Council for the last 10 years, running the building as a writers’ retreat and holiday home.

The property has been lovingly restored and is decorated in a 1930s style, as it would have been when the Hughes family lived there.

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Cabinet Members will discuss proposals to transfer the management of the building to The Elmet Trust on a 125-year lease. The Council would continue to work with the Trust and monitor the site.

Councillor Barry Collins, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Strategy, said: “Ted Hughes was one of the very finest English poets of the later 20th century.

"Whilst The Elmet Trust continues to care for his Mytholmroyd birthplace, Calderdale Council is also working with the Trust in supporting the University of Huddersfield’s ambition to create a memorial trail through the Calder Valley landscape that was so fundamental to his poetic vision.”

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The transfer would enable the Trust to apply for a range of external grants to help achieve its aims, which include increasing visits to 1 Aspinall Street; securing a higher profile for Ted Hughes on the tourism map; pursuing a public engagement strategy and events programme; and progressing the development of a Ted Hughes Centre in Mytholmroyd.

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Mark Hinchliffe, Chair of The Elmet Trust, said: “2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Ted’s passing, so we’re delighted the occasion has been marked by such an important step in securing his legacy.

"It comes just in time for our Ted Hughes festival in October. We’ll be opening 1 Aspinall Street to the public during the festival, so people can see the house that nurtured such a great poet.”

Ted Hughes lived at 1 Aspinall Street and was a pupil at Burnley Road School until the age of eight, when he and his family moved to South Yorkshire.

As a child, he spent many hours exploring the countryside around Mytholmroyd, and these experiences inspired much of his later poetry.

He also wrote stories, plays, reviews and essays, and wrote extensively for children, including The Iron Man. The story is retold on a series of storyboards on the platforms of Mytholmroyd train station.