The History of Fustian Cottage

This statue is the base of the sundial in the centre of Hebden Bridge. 

It shows a Fustian Cutter, cutting the cloth that Hebden Bridge was famous for.

Fustian Cottage was built in the late 1800s.  Following the 1869 opening of a nearby ironworks, planning permission applications to build Oak Street (including Fustian Cottage) were submitted in 1875 and 1888.  The cottages were built for the workers.  Oak Street and the surrounding streets are notable for their large area of stone setts (like flat cobbles) which make up the road.


The earliest date we can find names for Fustian Cottage's occupants is 1901 when the house was lived in by three unmarried adult siblings;

  • William Ellis, aged 27, born 1874, a bricklayer's labourer;

  • Ann Ellis, aged 31, born 1872, a tailoress fustian;

  • George Ellis, aged 17, born 1884, a fustian manufacturer's warehouseman;

  • and William's niece, Elizabeth Ellis, aged 3, born 1898. 

Ten years later in 1911, we can see the family still together, with the child, Elizabeth, now aged 14, working as a tailoress sewing machinist. 
The occupations of these people gave us the name for the cottage.  Fustian is a tweed-like cloth which the family manufactured and worked with.  It was often used to make trousers, giving Hebden Bridge its nickname of Trouser Town.
Cultural references: 
"    Fustian Cottage was used as a film set in the 1999 film Fanny and Elvis starring Ray Winstone.  It can be seen, unmodernised, in this clip.  
"    The streets surrounding Fustian Cottage were used extensively in the series Happy Valley with the home of the heroine, played by Sarah Lancashire, just metres away from Fustian Cottage.  


You can watch Ray Winstone in the unrenovated Fustian Cottage and download some more about Hebden Bridge's history below.