I have lived most of my life within a few hundred yards of a canal towpath. The Leeds–Liverpool canal to be precise. This photo actually shows the Rochdale Canal in Hebden Bridge, but I’m illustrating a monologue, so you’ll have to bear with me. A wise old man said that you are a product of your environment and your experiences. I think he was half right, as I think genes have a cruel part in this too. But I’m definitely at home, walking on a canal towpath. I always wanted to live next to water—maybe a stream or a river—but a canal would do. Mind you, with global warming, I’m not so sure I want to live near water any more.
Staups Mill lies near the top of a big hill near Heptonstall and Hebden Bridge. A stream runs down Jumble Hole Clough, marking the old boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire, and powered several mills in the early nineteenth century, including this one, which produced cotton. I have no idea how many workers were employed, or where they lived, but it always amazes me when I see ruins in these seemingly inaccessible places. Did the commute not finish them off before they even started work?