Todmorden Antiquarian Society

Stepping Back Into The Past

Discovering History Near & Far

The Todmorden Antiquarian Society meets fortnightly from October to May at Todmorden Community College, to hear talks given by members and visiting speakers, often illustrated with slides. These lectures cover not only subjects relevant to Todmorden, its past and its environs, but also matters of wider historical interest.

In the past, we have made one or two summer visits each year to places of historic note. These have not happened over recent years since the pandemic, but we are hoping to revive them in future.

New Members & Visitors Welcome

The Society currently has around 50 members but is always happy to welcome visitors or prospective new members at its meetings.

Meetings are held fortnightly on a Tuesday evening (with a break for Christmas & Easter) in the Stoodley Room at Todmorden Learning Centre and Community Hub on Burnley Road (formerly Todmorden Community College).

We meet at 7 pm for a 7.30 pm start and meetings usually finish around 9 pm.

The cost of annual membership is just £15 (from Oct-May) or just £3 per meeting for visitors.

If you are interested in finding out more about membership or attending a meeting then please do Get in Touch.

This Season’s Speakers

October 2024 – May 2025

Each year we approach speakers across a wide and varied selection of subjects to talk at our meetings. Some of these will be on topics of local interest, whilst others will be on more general subjects or from further afield.

This year, locally, we have speakers presenting about the Cragg Vale Coiners, The Story of Hollingworth Lake, and the Fielden Famiily’s Extensive Property Portfolio.

Talks on more general subjects and those further afield include: The English Civil War in West Yorkshire, Speke Hall in Liverpool, renowned clockmaker John Harrison, and Bhutan.


Our History

The inaugural meeting of the Society was held at Calder College on 27th April 1965. Norman Brown was appointed as Chairman, Dennis O’Neill, Secretary and D Jackson, Treasurer. The first committee members were John Chadwick, Susan Cockcroft, Charles Crabtree, Eric Halstead and Patricia Henshaw.

The first lecture was given by Mr A Dobson on 18th May 1965. His subject was “Characters and Incidents of Local Interest”.

The first outing was a trip to Hadrian’s Wall on 20th June 1965.


The Society has produced several publications over the years. The following are still in print and can be purchased at any of its meetings, Todmorden Tourist Information Centre, or Lyall’s Bookshop on Rochdale Road (opposite St Mary’s Church)

The Development of Todmorden 1700 to 1896 compiled by Mrs E M Savage – £3.50

Todmorden Travellers by Mrs E M Savage – £3

Stoodley Pike by Mrs E M Savage – £2.75

Walsden a Century of Change by J Crowther – £2.50

Portrait of a Town. Mid-19th Century Todmorden by Dorothy Dugdale – £3.50

Todmorden Cameos. Short biographies of people of note from a small northern town. These were compiled by various members of the Society to mark the millennium celebrations – £5.50

The following publications are out of print but copies are held at Todmorden Library both among the Society’s collection and to borrow. Please ask the staff about these.

Sam Banks, His Life and Times. A vivid picture of 19th-century Cornholme taken from the diaries of a local poet and naturalist.

Murder at Todmorden Vicarage. The story of the murder committed by Miles Weatherhill, one of the last men to be publicly hanged in Manchester.

Todmorden Library

A collection of books, papers and other items belonging to the Society is held at Todmorden Library. Please ask the staff to direct you to where this can be found. This facility is available to everyone, not just society members.

There is no dedicated catalogue but if you ‘Google’ a name or subject on the library’s website you should be directed to the Society’s collection, if a relevant item is held there.

Find Out More