Home to some of Holmfirth’s most significant historical characters
The Old Bridge Inn became a hotel in 1986, but its history stretches back to 1819 when a local mill owner, William Dickinson, built the property at the core of today’s hotel, as a grand home for himself and his family.
In 1837, the house was occupied by another scion of a Holme Valley wool manufacturing dynasty, Joseph Charlesworth, with his family. At that time the house had attached to it a smaller house and attached to that, a warehouse, all three parts combining to establish the footprint of today’s Old Bridge Inn. Joseph Charlesworth named his home Eldon House, almost certainly in honour of a popular Lord Chancellor, Lord Eldon, who died shortly before Charlesworth was appointed the first magistrate in Holmfirth. In the immediate aftermath of a devastating flood that destroyed buildings and took the lives of 81 people in the Holme Valley, Charlesworth led the town’s recovery, apparently at great expense to his health, because two months after the disaster he suddenly died, aged 59.
The large grounds of Eldon House were developed during the late 1800s. A row of shops was built on the access road along the riverside, and a new access road built in front of them, on stilts to form a platform jutting out over the river. A building was erected that was occupied by a local printer, Eli Collins, who in 1886 established from there the Holmfirth Express weekly newspaper. Later, Collins and his family moved into Eldon House. The most significant development in the grounds was the erection of the Holme Valley Theatre, which opened in 1913 to satisfy the new interest in silent films.
Eldon House and its two attached properties were sold in 1929 to Holmfirth Conservative Association, which rebuilt the warehouse wing as part of a conversion of the whole site into the town’s new Conservative Club. The club served the town until 1984 when the property was sold to a local builder, who converted it to a hotel.
Restored to its 1913 former glory, the Picturedrome sits just next door to us and has hosted some of the biggest names in music and live entertainment, including Sophie Ellis-Bexter, The South & Rival Sons. Find about about their latest events by clicking here.
An unmissable date in the Holmfirth calendar is the Holmfirth Festival of Folk which has been an annual event in May since 1978 and continues to grow and strengthen every year.