Last of the Summer Wine: Holmfirth
Text and photos by Kathy Noltze

2010 by Kathy Noltze. All rights reserved.

A familiar scene: downtown Holmfirth

 

Real patrons at a real caf: Sid's

 

Recognizable staircase next to Sid's

 

No, he's not Compo.

 

Sid's Caf interior. It was full of activity, but I found a table straight away and ordered tea

 at the counter.

 

Alley which is film location for Nora Batty's door and the Wrinkled Stocking Caf. Access

to the Last of the Summer Wine exhibition hall is here, also. The River Holme to the left of

the alley is the venue for many scenes.

 

Looks like a bridge from which Compo was dangled.

 

Nora Batty's door.

 

Not on tourist maps: Bill Owen's  final resting spot. Two headstones and a pair of Wellies

mark his grave. He dropped his real last name for the American market.

A fitting tribute to a man who delights millions even 11 years after his demise:  Compo's Wellies.

Holmfirth has many pedestrian footpaths...

 

...and little lanes.

 

Downtown

 

Area buses depart from Huddersfield Rail Station and nearby bus depot.

 

Serendipity. Bypassing London, I flew directly into Manchester from the States: business took me to Chester and York. On my return, train times to Manchester Airport did not dovetail with my flight arrangements. Thus I stopped at Huddersfielddue to its easy train trip to the airportand found myself on a local bus to Holmfirth. Serendipity.

     Aficionados of Last of the Summer Wine know that much of the sitcom is filmed in and near Holmfirth and they will recognize some of the locations in my pictures to the left. The area is also the filming location for many scenes in Coronation Street, Cranford, and other programs.

     In the Pennines on the River Holme, Holmfirth is worth a visit even if you're not a sitcom fan. It's in an area of northern England that is designated as Outstanding Natural Beauty and would be an inexpensive  base from which to explore northern England's villages and countryside, as well as Manchester, Chester, Leeds, and other cities.

     I had tea at Sid's Caf and walked over the bridge and river where many  escapades are filmed. Nora Batty's blue door didn't look like the one on TV to me. (That's likely due to the fact that programming in the USA is probably 15 years behind filming.) Sid's Caf is the only place where I encountered a slight "touristy" aura.

     It was dej vu all over again as I traipsed the town on its many foot-paths. Everywhere I went seemed to be somewhere I'd been before.

     I saw no garish Niagara Falls-type tourism advertisements, nor did I run into any tour bus groups. Folks at the  information office were helpful, clearly accustomed to individuals requesting walking maps. At the end of the day, I returned to their office for directions to something not on the map: the cemetery where Bill Owen is interred.

     It's on a little lane up a hill about five minutes' pleasant walk from downtown.

     A sign for an ale fest caught my eye several times as I walked through town. I succumbed to temptation and sampled a variety and Sunday carvery at The Old Bridge Hotel.

     "Hello, again," said a familiar voice as I fumbled through my shoulder bag for my day-return bus ticket. It was the same bus driver who'd delivered me to Holmfirth earlier that day. He probably remembered me because I'd asked him at least twice if I'd missed my stop. You see, Holmfirth is only seven miles from Huddersfield and I expected the trip to take maybe 15 minutes, even allowing for driving on the left side of the road. But we zigzagged through hilly country and villagesI swear we did donut holesand the outbound trip took over 45 minutes. 

     The return was only 20 minutes (not the zigzag path?) and I was deposited "right back where you started" at Huddersfield Rail Station, the last passenger off the bus.

     --Kathy Noltze

May 4, 2010

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These are Huddersfield pictures. Click on them to enlarge.

 

Rail Station

 

Statue of former

Prime Minister Wilson

outside train station

 

 

Inside Huddersfield's

 Outdoor Market

 

Outside the outdoor market

 

Chess tournament

at the library

 

Interval at the

Lawrence Batley Theatre,

as viewed from a box seat.

Carousel was performed

on April 30. Good job!

 

Lyrics to Theme Song of

The Last of the Summer Wine

 

♪♫♪

The last of the summer wine,

The sweet bouquet of memories,

Of you and I, as time goes by,

I still remember these.

 

The last of the summer wine,

When passing shadows still recur,

Of golden days, so young in love,

And that's the way we were.

 

We had our dreams,

To change the world,

As people will,

But now we're known as the folk,

Who live on the hill.

 

The last of the summer wine,

A vintage love, a vintage brew,

And now my love this toast I give,

Thank you for being you.

 

These are the original lyrics written by Roy Clarke. Bill Owen (Compo) revised them for a later episode. They were revised again for the funeral edition when Bill Owen died.