New era for flood-hit antiques centre in Hebden Bridge

Owner Trish Banyard, left, and manager Alexa Kerr outside the new Hebden Bridge Antiques Centre
Owner Trish Banyard, left, and manager Alexa Kerr outside the new Hebden Bridge Antiques Centre

After more than two years of hard work, a business that was seriously affected by the Boxing Day floods is looking forward to the future in its new permanent home.

Hebden Bridge Antiques Centre is home to dealers specialising in a wide range of antiques and vintage items.

The floods engulfed most of the building, destroying much of what was inside

The floods engulfed most of the building, destroying much of what was inside

The business had spent ten years at its premises on Albert Street with three floors worth of antiques in its care. But on Boxing Day 2015 the shop, like many others in the Calder Valley, was devastated when severe flooding submerged most of the building and its contents.

“We lost two floors worth of stock, it was unsalvageable, and the building was structurally unsafe,” said Trish Banyard, owner of Hebden Bridge Antiques Centre.

“The water went floor to celing on the entire ground floor and half of the floor above. It was two feet high of smashed glass.

“Looking back I don’t know how we managed to carry on. Losing all those antiques, the world was bleak.”

Trish with Sandra Binns, one of the antiques dealers, at the opening of the temporary premises after the Boxing Day 2015 floods

Trish with Sandra Binns, one of the antiques dealers, at the opening of the temporary premises after the Boxing Day 2015 floods

Most of the stock was ruined including books and textiles with the only items surviving being hardware such as glass and ceramics.

Trish said: “There are antiques which have been lost forever, some which had survived through two World Wars. Seeing skip and skip I nearly walked away on Boxing Day but everyone rallied round and we just got ourselves together and everyone mucked in.”

As the building was structurally unsafe, only a small number of people could clear up the devastation left behind by the flood.

Trish said: “We had to work by candlelight because it was too unsafe for power and we only had daylight for a few hours a day.

“We were picking through broken glass. It was heart-breaking.”

Since that horrific day, Trish has been making plans. She was one of the first businesses to pick up and carry on from the floods as within a month she had found a new home on Valley Road and was looking to secure a permanent home.

She said: “I’ve always traded in Hebden Bridge. I love the town and wanted to stay there.

“There are limited buildings to house a big business as they are mainly smaller buildings big enough for boutiques.”

But there was the perfect place to house the business just a few streets away.

During the floods of 2012, Hebden Bridge Police Station was severely damaged and was made unusable to the police. Since then there have been multiple plans for the building which passed by until Trish snapped it up at an auction a few years ago.

“It’s looking great. It’s as big as it could get in Hebden Bridge and is the same size as the old place,” said Trish. “I’ve done everything I can think of to make it flood resilient.”

Just over a year ago Alexa Kerr was appointed as manager of Hebden Bridge Antiques Centre to modernise the traditional business. Since then, she has been working with Trish to get the Antiques Centre ready for its new home.

She said: “Trish has had the building for a few years and always planned to do something with it. Because it’s a quirky building it is perfect for an antiques store.

“I hope we will get a bit more footfall in the new premises and I look forward to moving in in the town that we love to be in.”

In the new centre there will be a reminder of the Boxing Day floods in the form of Eva, a bear which Trish saved from the flood and named after the storm which caused the chaos.

Trish calls the bear a victim of the floods and is an example of the many who have battled through to get back to normal after the floods.

The Hebden Bridge Antiques Centre will open the doors of its new premises on February 1. On February 3 and 4 there will be coffee and cake to welcome visitors to its new home.