Increased security at popular Calderdale tourist attraction Gibson Mill after lead thefts

Repairs and security measure are to be stepped up at an historic and picturesque tourist attraction in Calderdale which has become the victim of lead thefts.

The National Trust has revealed that Gibson Mill and the cafe that neighbours the site has been the subject of thefts.

The grade-listeed Gibson Mill in Hardcastle Craggs, Hebden Bridge

The grade-listeed Gibson Mill in Hardcastle Craggs, Hebden Bridge

The trust as submitted a plan to Calderdale Council for the replacement of lead stolen from the café roof at Gibson Mill with terne coated steel, for the installation of steel bars to ground floor windows and a door, and the installation of CCTV.

The Trust revealed that Gibson Mill suffered a break in and theft of lead from the café roof, in July.

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In supporting information for the plans, the Trust said: "Along with causing damage to internal contents, this caused significant damage to the roof, leaving roof timbers exposed and damaging slates.

"Emergency repairs were carried out, initially using tarpaulin and later more substantial temporary repairs using Visqueen when water leaks occurred during heavy rain."

"A site visit with the Calderdale Council Conservation Officer resulted in the recommendation that a security measures options appraisal carried out to determine whether the roof repairs should be carried out using lead or an alternative material.

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"In line with the Historic England guidance, this looked at the risk of repeated thefts and the feasibility of preventing such thefts.

"The result was a proposal to replace the stolen lead with terne coated steel due to the remote location and easy accessibility of the café roof.

"The proposal for lead replacement is limited only to the replacement of stolen or damaged lead.

"Other lead exists on site, both on the mill roof itself (which being three stories high is inaccessible to thieves) and to the boiler house roof which is at low level and may present a future risk of theft.

"Other measures identified by the security appraisal and requiring listed building consent are the installation of steel bars to ground floor windows and doors, and installation of CCTV.

Elements of the estate were first given to the National Trust in 1950, with further acquisitions over the years which have increased the land holding.

The central part of the estate comprises two steep-sided wooded valleys, each with a stream running through and fed by numerous springs.

The head waters are on moorland and feed the Widdop and Walshaw reservoirs.

Gibson Mill, built around 1800, is situated within Hardcastle Crags woodland beside Hebden Water. It was one of the first mills of the Industrial Revolution.

The mill was driven by a water wheel and produced cotton cloth up until 1890. In 1833, 21 workers were employed, each working an average of 72 hours per week and living in the adjacent mill workers’ cottages.

In the early 1900s, Gibson Mill began to be used as an ‘entertainment emporium’ for the local people.

The facilities included dining saloons, a dance hall, a roller-skating rink, refreshment kiosks and boating on the mill pond.

A hydro-electric turbine, dating from 1926, remains. After the Second World War, the mill slipped into disuse, and was acquired by the National Trust in 1950.

The Mill is Grade II listed in the Historic England register, nationally these buildings are of special historic interest and 91.7% of all listed buildings are in this class.